It’s safe to say that Jesus didn’t have a foot fetish. If he did, he hid it well. Even when he washed all his disciples’ feet, Jesus reportedly played it real cool. Well, a Wilmington Island pastor has come out and admit not being able to control his urges and abusing his power. Pastor Brad Waller of Grace Church of the Islands admitted to committing disturbing behavior with young men and boys. The disturbing behavior and abuse of authority stemmed from an undisclosed foot fetish. Waller came out about how he conducted the abuse. The recent revelations rocked faithful sheep to their core and challenged their beliefs.
The journey to confession reportedly began in February when a former SCAD student reached out to his former minister, Michael Gordon.That student revealed to Gordon details of an uncomfortable experience with Waller. While seeking counselling at Independent Presbyterian Church, the student received focus and attention from Waller.
As WSAV reports:
As Waller himself admitted later in his statement to the Presbytery, the larger church body of church elders and ministers, “I have been rubbing the feet of men and youth in my care.”
Even more surprising Waller said, “There was a sexual element to this, however, physically it never went past foot rubbing.”
The pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church, Terry Johnson, was astonished at the news. Waller had provided counselling to many parishioners at the church while working as an Associate Minister from 2007 – 2013. Not once did Waller give off the vibe or “inkling” of Waller’s deviant behavior. After the news broke, many claimed that the incident shook their faith. Many were left dumbfounded.
Parishioners of Independent Presbyterian Church and Grace Church of the Islands were told of the pastor’s admission of guilt and allegations following his removal from the pulpit. Waller was not only removed from the pulpit but also his Senior Pastor role at Grace Church and removed entirely from the Presbyterian ministry. Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky where Waller was an associate Minister from 1996-2005 and Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, have also been notified and are reaching out to their congregations.
Grace Church has filed a police report with Chatham County Police at the urging of Terry Johnson. The report mentions three victims: Charlie Turner, an Associate Pastor at Grace Church, and Turner’s own 12-year-old son. The third claimant has not been identified. Two of those victims said they felt “sexually assaulted” by Waller’s foot massages.
Grace Church of the Islands released this statement:
Grace Church of the Islands placed Brad Waller, then the church’s Senior Pastor, on leave when the governing Session learned of his inappropriate conduct. As Waller ultimately admitted, he abused his role as a Pastor, rubbing the feet of men and male youth in his care. The Session asked for Waller’s resignation. Waller is no longer the Pastor of Grace Church of the Islands, and he is no longer a minister in our denomination. Our congregation has been grieving. We have experienced shock, denial, pain, guilt and anger.
In Christian hope, our goal now is to heal our church. We want to better understand what happened, who was harmed, and how we can help.