Dispatches > The Buzz

'Breaking faith' update

Campus Crusade suspends speaker after scandal report

Issue: "Guns & Poses," April 13, 2002

Campus Crusade for Christ last week suspended Pastor Haman Cross Jr. from its roster of speakers following a WORLD report on clergy sexual abuse ("Breaking faith," published March 22, cover date March 30). The story reported that Mr. Cross had been involved in inappropriate physical relationships with three parishioners. In an internal memo dated April 2 Crusade President Steve Douglass wrote, "Rev. Cross has been suspended as a speaker for Student Venture and any of the other ministries of Campus Crusade for Christ, until such a time that an investigation can be completed."

Mr. Cross is senior pastor at Detroit's Rosedale Park Baptist Church, and has been a well-known speaker on sexual purity for Crusade and other evangelical ministries. During a 1997 lawsuit, he admitted to having various levels of sexual contact with three women whom he also had counseled, and also to giving pornographic materials to one woman, Donna Scott. Mrs. Scott said she contacted Campus Crusade associate director of U.S. ministries Crawford Loritts in 1997 and 1999, and informed him of Mr. Cross's sexual contact with her. Still, Mr. Cross continued to speak at Crusade events, most recently in January 2001.

Mr. Douglass's April 2 memo elaborates on Mr. Loritts's 1997 response to Mrs. Scott's allegations: "Upon hearing of the initial charges made against Rev. Cross ... [Mr. Loritts] immediately looked into the matter. [Mr. Loritts] was assured by Rev. Cross and others that Rev. Cross did not commit what was alleged. Only recently did [Mr. Loritts] become aware that there may be additional facts regarding this situation."

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"Recently" means Feb. 14, 2002, according to Crusade spokesman Mark DeMoss. That's when WORLD contacted Mr. Loritts and U.S. ministries director Chuck Price about Mrs. Scott's relationship with Mr. Cross, and Mr. Loritts's knowledge of that relationship. On March 19, WORLD learned that Mr. Cross was scheduled to speak in June at a conference for Student Venture, Crusade's high-school ministry. As of March 25, three days after WORLD's report on clergy sexual abuse was published, Mr. Cross was still listed as a speaker for the June Student Venture event.

The reason Crusade did not "move quicker or more decisively on this," Mr. DeMoss said, "was that, given their relationship with Haman, they owed it to Haman to verify information, to talk to Haman, to look for this public record that [WORLD] referred to ... and not just to make this decision." As of April 2, Mr. DeMoss said, "Crusade has been able to learn enough to comfortably make this decision about Haman's speaking."

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