This is an open letter to Steven Douglass the President of Campus Crusade for Christ International and Cru locally. Its regarding one of their well known speakers and the incredibly serious allegations of the cover up of voyeurism, and the alleged destruction of child pornography in Bryan Loritts Fellowship Memphis. The negligence of the Fellowship Memphis leadership led to a large number of victims (conservative estimate I would say 1,500 over a three year period) at Downtown Church in Memphis.
“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.”
“It is absurd that a man should rule others who cannot rule himself.”
So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife.[b] He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.
1 Timothy 3:2 NLT
***Note Steve Douglass is the President of Campus Crusade for Christ International and Cru which is the United States name. He took over from Bill Bright in 2001***
Bryan Loritts statement on Twitter conflicts with what is said in the Memphis Commercial Appeal
Let me introduce myself. My name is David Bonner and I write a blog called The Wondering Eagle. I myself, am an alumnus of Campus Crusade. I planted and grew a Crusade Chapter at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2000. My Milwaukee Metro Crusade Director was Steve Papez. I poured my life into Crusade and I attended a total of three Christmas conferences. One was in San Diego and the other two in Minneapolis. At the Christmas conferences I heard Bryan Loritts speak. Today’s letter is notify Cru about Bryan’s alleged involvement in covering up criminal activity, to include the alleged destruction of child pornography at Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis. What I write in this letter I believe after speaking with the victims and those formerly involved in Bryan Loritts church.
On August 14, 2016 I woke up and checked my email. I had a note from a former member of Fellowship Memphis. She was the victim of an alleged sexual crime. It was one of the most disturbing emails I have received since writing this blog. It was so disturbing that I got lost going to church because the subject matter was so grim and troubling. This victim put me in touch with others and then additional people reached out to me as I began to write. Here is what happened…Rick Trotter was the worship pastor at Fellowship Memphis. He was also the brother-in-law of Bryan Loritts and the son-in-law of Crawford Loritts. Rick Trotter was allegedly into voyeurism, and he allegedly put a camera in the bathroom and recorded females in their private moments. He also recorded at least two underage females. Its my belief that child pornography was manufactured in a restroom of a church that Bryan Loritts led. Rick Trotter also practiced voyeurism at home and allegedly caught Bryan Loritts family on film. Rick Trotter was caught after doing this for a two month period. He caught at least 100 females allegedly on film at Fellowship Memphis, as that is what he told Mid America Seminery. The church under the leadership of Bryan Loritts, John D Bryson and lead Elder Hamp Holcomb then allegedly proceeded to cover up the criminal activity. Under the leadership of Bryan Loritts women were forced to met with Rick Trotter and forgive him. They were told to forgive him, not to go to the police as they would destroy his life. With the damning evidence the attorney told the church to “throw the evidence in the Mississippi River.” With that Rick Trotter was let go, and the Memphis Police were never brought into the situation. While Bryan Loritts allegedly banned Rick Trotter from his home he had no problem with a sexual predator going onto another church and becoming the worship pastor at Downtown Presbyterian Church as led by Richard Rieves. Rick Trotter then engaged in the same behavior, the results however are far more terrifying. Rick Trotter then allegedly placed multiple cameras in the restroom and recorded women for three years. He was caught again and this time the church turned it over to the Memphis Police. I think the only reason why Richard Rieves did this is because his daughter was allegedly caught on film. I think a conservative estimate over a three year period is that at least 1,500 women could have been caught on film. This largely happened due to the alleged negligence of Bryan Loritts and John Bryson.
I tell you this because I believe Cru should be aware of the criminal allegations at Fellowship Memphis and Bryan Loritts’ alleged role. Cru has had Bryan Loritts speak at their events for years and the question remains is this…is Bryan Loritts qualified to be in ministry? With the allegations of him being involved in covering up his brother-in-law’s alleged criminal activity I think we all know what scripture says about someone being above reproach and the qualifications for Elders. Bryan Loritts does not meet those qualifications Steve. You may ask…what makes you believe the victims or the people you are speaking to? Here’s why I believe the victims. I have spoken on the phone with one on a fairly regular basis. I am also in touch with a couple of other former members who are in the know about this church. They were deeply involved for years and have good access to knowledge and are aware of the alleged cover up. They have reached out to me and asked me to keep writing. I believe them, and find them credible, plus they have also shown me documentation. For example this statement by Rick Trotter was not previously available until this blog posted it. The victims are upset and many had their trust shattered. Some have a difficult time using the restroom and doing things you and I take for granted. To give you an overview of the situation this is the main article you should read, “The Sordid Tale of Rick Trotter, Bryan Loritts, John Bryson and Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Presbyterian Church.“
Steve, Cru claims to teach the Gospel and have a solid understanding of it. In the course of time we will see if Cru has a solid understanding of the Christian faith. If Cru lets Bryan Loritts speak and dismisses the criminal allegations which are quite serious then I think we know that Cru’s credibility will be deeply tainted and it will raise deep systemic issues about the health and the vitality of the organization. If Cru ignores this information it is also ignoring scripture. It will also reveal the motives and issues which will then be driving the organization, and if that happens I think it will be safe to say that Cru does not have a desire to honor the Lord. Criminal allegations of voyeurism and of the destruction of alleged child pornography are quite serious. I do not write this letter to you with joy and instead with a heavy heart. But the fact of the matter is that as an alumnus of this organization I care too much about it to let it continue to have Bryan Loritts speak. What is also troubling is the conflicting information…Bryan Loritts claimed Fellowship Memphis informed the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services that children were hurt. Then in the Memphis Commercial Appeal Fellowship Memphis claimed that no children were captured on video. The contradictions are too disturbing to ignore. That is why I have Bryan Loritts Twitter statement leading this post.
The best thing Cru could do is encourage Bryan Loritts to step down from the pastorate of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View, California. They should encourage him to return to Memphis make amends, cooperate with law enforcement and work at repairing the damage. Bryan Loritts should meet with every person he allegedly helped coerce to forgive his brother-in-law Rick Trotter, and ask for forgiveness. There are also serious questions as to what Crawford Loritts knew about the situation with his son-in-law. Given that fact that Crawford Loritts and Sandy Willson of Memphis Second Presbyterian are also on the Council of The Gospel Coalition the largest question I have is this…did Crawford use his fame, power and stature to contact Sandy Willson and help get Rick Trotter on board Memphis Second Presbyterian’s church plant? These are questions that need to be cleaned up as well. The model that I think Bryan Loritts should follow is Chuck Colson. After stepping down for a few years and maybe working in the business sector or more, if he does things right then I think Bryan could be an incredible teacher. THAT if he owns his involvement in the alleged criminal cover up of Fellowship Memphis. Right now Bryan Loritts is acting like Jonah in that all he is doing is fleeing. At the bottom of this letter you will have all the documentation and information to educate yourself on the situation with Bryan Loritts. I included all the Memphis Commercial Appeal articles and 15 articles that I have written for my blog The Wondering Eagle. I honestly hope that you and Cru will do the right thing with this. Remember what Jesus said about the least of these, and I would think that the least of these includes a teenager or 35 year old mother who was allegedly illegally recorded in the restroom for someone’s deviant sexual pleasure. I am sorry I have to write this but Cru needs to be aware of this disturbing information.
Resources on Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis
- This is the story of Fellowship Memphis, Bryan Loritts, John Bryson, Rick Trotter and the criminal allegations of Rick Trotter’s alleged voyeurism and Fellowship Memphis cover up. Rick Trotter then became a pastor at Downtown Church (formerly Downtown Presbyterian) and allegedly engaged in more voyeurism for three years. “The Sordid Tale of Rick Trotter, Bryan Loritts, John Bryson and Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Presbyterian Church.”
- This is the preserved joint statement between Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Church. “Preserving The Joint Statement Between Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Church.”
- This is Rick Trotter’s alleged confession of his illegal activities that was read before Fellowship Memphis. This statement has some serious issues and illustrates that an alleged cover up took place. “Rick Trotter’s Alleged Confession of his Illegal Acts Before Fellowship Memphis.”
- This is the statement I obtained from Acts 29 SE Regional Director Brian Lowe on the situation at Fellowship Memphis. “Statement from Acts 29 SE Director Brian Lowe on the Situation at John Bryson’s Fellowship Memphis.”
- This is an email exchange that took place between me and Bryan Loritts in March of 2013. I asked Bryan Loritts why he wouldn’t speak out on the C. J. Mahaney’s alleged criminal cover up of child sex abuse in Sovereign Grace Ministries. Later on I would learn that Bryan Loritts wouldn’t speak out because he was involved in his own alleged criminal cover up at Fellowship Memphis. “An Email Exchange with Bryan Loritts in March of 2013 Helps Shine Light on the Alleged Cover Up of Rick Trotter’s Voyeurism in Fellowship Memphis.“
- Bryan Loritts family was illegally recorded on Rick Trotter’s videos. Bryan Loritts who allegedly banned Rick Trotter from his house had no problem letting him go onto staff at Downtown Church. The alleged victims at Fellowship Memphis are at least 100. If 100 victims were allegedly illegally recorded over a two month period at one church, then I think a conservative estimate is that at least 1,500 women and possibly minors may have been allegedly illegally recorded at Downtown Church before Rick Trotter was caught again. The question needs to be asked…why would a pastor ban an alleged sexual predator from his residence and have no problem exposing a community to him? “Why Would Bryan Loritts Allegedly Ban Rick Trotter from his House and yet Encourage him to go to Richard Rieves Downtown Church?“
- This is the list of questions that need answering in the scandal and alleged criminal allegations involving both Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Church. “Questions that Need Answering in Regards to the Rick Trotter Situation; Plus I Need Sources who are Knowledgeable about Richard Rieves Downtown Church and Sandy Willson’s Memphis Second Presbyterian.”
- Bryan Loritts and this blog writer have another email exchange. I give Bryan Loritts a couple of opportunities to make a statement on the situation at Fellowship Memphis. This also shows how the evangelical Christian church has a flawed understanding of what slander and gossip are. “Does Bryan Loritts Need Anger Management Therapy? His Behavior on Twitter and Another Email Exchange.”
- A post showing the attacks that members from Fellowship Memphis have made on me. If defending alleged criminal activity in a church is healthy…then God help our church! “Guest Post: Bill M’s Compilation of the Comments by Members of Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Church.“
- John Bryson of Fellowship Memphis hires a PR firm that is designed to do damage control. This is about the PR firm and touches on the parallels between evangelical Christian scandals and Watergate. “Fellowship Memphis Hires a PR Firm; Is this John Bryson’s Effort to Establish an Equivalent of Richard Nixon’s “White House Plumbers?”
- Sandy Willson of Memphis Second Presbyterian was allegedly warned that there was a sexual predator on the staff of the church plant that Memphis Second Presbyterian was sponsoring. This is an overview of Sandy Willson and how Sandy allegedly dismissed the warnings. “Sandy Willson of Second Presbyterian Memphis is Allegedly Notified in November 2011 that a Sexual Predator was on Staff at Downtown Presbyterian Church.”
- An open letter to Bryan Loritts expressing my disgust that he would allegedly be involved in covering up criminal activity. “An Open Letter to Bryan Loritts (Former Teaching Pastor at Fellowship Memphis).”
- In the spirit of Acts 29 I offer the 151st Psalm. A modern day lament for corrupt pastors such as Chris Davis. There are many men who are pastors who should not be pastors. “In the Spirit of Acts 29’s Fellowship Memphis, Psalm 151…A Modern Day Lament that Individuals Like Chris Davis are Pastors.”
- In writing about church scandals, polity, doctrine, and spiritual abuse this is why the media needs to learn how to cover and report on church relate issues. “From Elverson, Pennsylvania to Memphis, Tennessee why the Media Needs to Learn how to Cover Religious Stories.”
- An update on Rick Trotter’s court hearing, and the fact that Rick Trotter allegedly engaged in criminal activity in a Chic-Fil-A in the Atlanta, Georgia area. “Rick Trotter Update, News on Heather Trotter, and Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis Going Forward.”
Memphis Commercial Appeal Articles on the Situation at Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Church
- “Former Grizzlies announcer Rick Trotter reportedly recorded women at another church in 2010”
- “Former Grizzlies announcer Trotter waives arraignment”
- “Trotter arrest causes sickening day for Griz fans”
- “Geoff Calkins’ Take 5: Quick thoughts on Rick Trotter, the Grizzlies schedule and the MLK Day game“
- “Churches Tried to Help Trotter What About the Victims?”
- “Former Grizzlies announcer arrested, accused of taking illicit pictures”