Thursday, July 23, 2015

Convicted child sex offender listed as violent on VA state registry is "Care Director" pastor at Fairfax Community Church



It's come to this: as I told my husband a few days ago when I was alerted to this story, we now must caution parents and church members/attendees to search for church pastors and staff on sex offender registries.

Child sex offenders "hiding" in plain sight, elevated to positions of spiritual authority and trust? Alarmingly, yes.

How would the public react to news that a violent registered sex offender worked at a school with kids? Daycare? Coach? Counselor?

Church? Yes, a church: Fairfax Community Church in Fairfax, Virginia.

Eric Nickle is the Care Director at Fairfax Community Church. The senior pastor of FCC is Rod Stafford.

Eric Nickle is on the Virginia sex offender registry. He is listed as violent.





Eric Nickle was convicted on October 13, 2000 for Indecent Liberties with a Child by Custodian. VA law code 18.2-370.1 is listed on Nickle's sex offender registry. His initial registration was on July 17, 2000 and renewed on July 20, 2015. 

§ 18.2-370.1. Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship; penalties.












A. Any person 18 years of age or older who, except as provided in § 18.2-370, maintains a custodial or supervisory relationship over a child under the age of 18 and is not legally married to such child and such child is not emancipated who, with lascivious intent, knowingly and intentionally (i) proposes that any such child feel or fondle the sexual or genital parts of such person or that such person feel or handle the sexual or genital parts of the child; or (ii) proposes to such child the performance of an act of sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus or any act constituting an offense under § 18.2-361; or (iii) exposes his or her sexual or genital parts to such child; or (iv) proposes that any such child expose his or her sexual or genital parts to such person; or (v) proposes to the child that the child engage in sexual intercourse, sodomy or fondling of sexual or genital parts with another person; or (vi) sexually abuses the child as defined in subdivision 6 of §18.2-67.10 is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
B. Any person who is convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this section is guilty of a Class 5 felony, provided that (i) the offenses were not part of a common act, transaction or scheme; (ii) the accused was at liberty as defined in § 53.1-151 between each conviction; and (iii) it is admitted, or found by the jury or judge before whom the person is tried, that the accused was previously convicted of a violation of this section.
1982, c. 521; 1986, c. 503; 1991, c. 517; 2001, c. 840; 2005, c. 185; 2014, c. 794
Is the senior pastor aware that Nickle is a registered child sex offender listed as violent? Are church members and attendees aware of this information?

Elevating a child sex offender to a position of trust and authority does not create a safe environment for kids and abuse survivors.

The light of truth and knowledge is our greatest tool to protect kids.



UPDATE: July 30, 2015




A grand deception: The successful response of sex offenders

When the Church prefers perpetrators

A careful grace: Accountability for sex offenders in the church
A church should not ask a sex offender to be part of the public platform.
Fairfax Community Church: Why you should check the sex offender registry before joining a church











UPDATE: 8/4/15
Last Saturday, I was in the DC area attending and speaking at our annual SNAP conference. A group of SNAP members and leaders held an awareness event outside Fairfax Community Church about convicted child sex offender and FCC pastor Eric Nickle.





We handed out leaflets to church congregants as they left the worship service.
SNAP believes that church officials are being reckless by employing Nickle and telling only some congregants about his past. 
Fairfax staff say they’re restricting Nickle’s activities at the church, but SNAP is skeptical.
“It’s dreadfully risky for church staff to claim or try to monitor shrewd sex offenders,” said Amy Smith of SNAP. “The outcome is often more child sex crimes surfacing years later.”
The group also challenges the church’s notion of “forgiveness.”
“We can forgive a drunk driver but shouldn’t give him school bus keys. We can forgive someone who commits violence but shouldn’t give him a gun,” said Becky Ianni of Burke VA. “We can forgive someone who abuses kids but shouldn’t give him any role in a position of trust and authority.”
“Putting a child sex offender in a position of trust and authority endangers innocent kids and hurts abuse victims,” said Smith. “Why take this avoidable risk with the most vulnerable among us?”
Shortly after we arrived, Loretta Cooper, spokesperson for FCC, came out to meet us. She gave us copies of the 2nd Fairfax Community Church statement in a week on Eric Nickle.


We spoke for a few minutes with Loretta Cooper. When I expressed concern that a convicted pedophile would be given a position of trust and authority as a Care Director, Loretta informed me that I am inflating his job responsibilities as Eric "mostly just carries boxes."


I assumed since Loretta was sent to deliver the official church statement that she is on staff. She said she's not on staff, does not speak on behalf of the church, and that she is just a member.

Loretta is married to Kyle Cooper, FCC youth pastor. I discovered that the senior pastor Rod Stafford has designated Loretta as the spokesperson on Eric Nickle.


Giving title Care Director sends wrong message! Hope church takes advice recognising perpetrators shouldn't be given positions of trust. ~ Simon Bass, chief executive of the Churches Child Protection Advisory Service

We ended our conversation with me asking Loretta Cooper if she or the church had contacted Boz Tchividjian of  G.R.A.C.E http://www.netgrace.org/ to get his input. She said they had not done so, but she promised that she would.

We have heard that senior pastor Rod Stafford addressed the situation regarding Eric Nickle in his sermon in the worship services last weekend in detail, even going into the specifics of Nickle's child sex crime conviction and discussing the identity of his victim. 
I went to the service yesterday at 5PM. It is not going to be streaming, nor put up on the internet. These are a few points, questions, and comments I got out of last night.
– There still seems to be a discussion surrounding the limitations and restrictions put on Mr. Nickle, yet those topics of discussion seem to have been addressed in the response Mr. Stafford sent out, or were they not addressed to the level that you feel is appropriate? (I ask that seriously and not in a sarcastic tone).
– Mr. Nickle’s dad was a swinger and his mom was sexually molested by a pastor before he was born. His parents thought having a child would keep their marriage together but, instead, they got divorced when Eric was 1 year old. As he was raised, he was exposed to pornography at a very young age.
– The victim was Mr. Nickle’s daughter. When she was 12 – 14 (I forget the exact age), upon her falling asleep he would come in and touch her (first through her clothing and then underneath it). The first time he touched her underneath her clothes she awoke and immediately told her mom (Eric’s wife).
– The sermon stated that, according to Virginia law, all crimes committed in such a way (even though no physical violence (in the traditional sense of striking, etc.) was caused, the term “violent” is still attached). @LawProf: This is your area of expertise so your words regarding whether this is true or not may help further elucidate the matter.
– Many years have passed and they have both gone through a tremendous amount of counseling (both on their own and together) to the point where they meet (in public) and Mr. Nickle gets to spend time with his daughter and grandson/granddaughter (I forget if it’s a boy or a girl but it was stated in the sermon).
– A second story was told about a woman who works at the church and is the supervisor of Mr. Nickle. She was a victim of molestation at the hands of a pastor when she was younger. I am refraining from using her name because of this. She has been Mr. Nickle’s supervisor for the entirety of his employment at FCC.
– Upon leaving the church, a few SNAP members were standing at the entrance to the church and offering pamphlets to drivers. Upon declining to receive the literature, the woman said, “That’s alright, thank you anyways”. I write this because I was “happy” to see that no animosity of any kind seemed to be outwardly demonstrated.



Anonymous said...
I've attended the church for 2 1/2 years. I attend almost every Sunday. I volunteer in the nursery and as a greeter. I was never told. Should I have asked?

I am highly offended that you think that touching his daughter is not violent. ANY unwanted sexual content is violent. That is why VA law requires this label.

Mr. Nelson may be a sex addict, addicted to porn or addicted to substances. The real issue is that he is a pedophile. Pedophiles should NOT be employed by churches.

Pastor Rod's sermon made me, as a survivor, no longer feel safe at FCC.
4/15/2013
 Not sure if people who are attending this church are aware that Eric Nickle is on the sexual registry list for taking liberties with a minor. Since I am a mother of four children who have interacted with Eric I have notified the church staff several times. They wrote me off. I think the church has a responsibility to let its members know that Eric Nickles is on the sexual registry list. Look up the zip code of the church 22030 on the fairfax sexual offenders list and you will see a picture of him.

I will no longer take my family to this church.






6 comments:

Anonymous said...

In his list of books, he mentions Sexaholics Anonymous White Book? Wow!

Living Liminal said...

I just can't get my head around this! How stupid do church leaders have to act before someone stands up and says, "Enough!"?

Anonymous said...

I may not be agreeing with the author but I do think some of these facts should be mentioned in the article...

1. Eric Nickle's past is no announced every week or month when the church meets BUT the story isn't hidden either by the church. If someone asked, they could have a chance to go and meet and talk to Eric and even ask him questions. As I said earlier, it wasn't announced but every staff member, children helper knew he was not allowed near kids.
2. The violent term is something which VA law requires for any contact with a minor which is considered illegal. From court records he was charged for touching his daughter with no penetration. He was caught by his daughter, who told his wife and Eric went to jail for 18 months. There was no violence, but again the law required that tag.
3. The senior leadership as I stated earlier all knew of this and have been making sure to provide a safe environment with Eric to ensure that he will not have access to kids and he will be covered if blame comes to him. That being said they have taken him to one side of the building where he works in an open workstation where everyone can see him away from the kids who stay in another side. Eric also has different computer security to help monitor his actions and protect him from any blame.

I understand the concern for the kids and that a man is in a position of power can harm and hurt them. But the position he is in is to help people overcome addictions (substance and sexual) where he is only allowed to work with 18 year old or greater men. I for one am a fan of second chances and after reading the court records and everything, I am a fan of letting this man work in counseling as long as the church keeps a close eye on him. Every man/woman deserves a second chance to help people BUT that second chance doesn't mean a long rope.

Anonymous said...

I've attended the church for 2 1/2 years. I attend almost every Sunday. I volunteer in the nursery and as a greeter. I was never told. Should I have asked?

I am highly offended that you think that touching his daughter is not violent. ANY unwanted sexual content is violent. That is why VA law requires this label.

Mr. Nelson may be a sex addict, addicted to porn or addicted to substances. The real issue is that he is a pedophile. Pedophiles should NOT be employed by churches.

Pastor Rod's sermon made me, as a survivor, no longer feel safe at FCC.

Darrel said...

To the first 'anon' of 8-2. You are just as deceived as the rest of that pathetic social club that labels itself as a "church". If the pedophile really did repent of his sins the record would be displayed for all to see. Secondly, if he really did repent he would remove himself from being considered for ANY position of 'leadership' in this "church" and find work in the secular world. But no, he has the gall to be in the thick of things there as if nothing ever happened (see comment by anon #2 of 8-2). [Please tell us that FCC is not paying this man a full living wage for his 'work' at your social club, but according to your own Chief Wolf it seems that you are]. Thirdly, God can and does forgive sins of this nature and worse, but to keep this hidden from the 'church's' view is the same thing as lying. This man has been presented to the church as a member in good standing with a past that is PURPOSEFULLY hidden, with no indication that he has been forgiven by the Lord (because his "repentance"-if any-is also hidden from the church). Your "pastor" has set himself above God in this matter by hiding the truth from the sheep that he supposed to protect from the wolves. It's time for the guy to "man-up" and set the record straight if he indeed has any brotherly love for his fellow 'church members'. He's been slithering around like a snake fro too long, which is an indication that he is still lost. If you really love this guy (in Christ) then it's time for you to point him to true repentance before the entire "church" and no longer make room for the deception that has gone on too long.

It's interesting that both comments from 'members' @FCC chose to post as anons. Just another social club that runs on fear.

Dee Parsons said...

Anonymous

You said "The violent term is something which VA law requires for any contact with a minor which is considered illegal. From court records he was charged for touching his daughter with no penetration. He was caught by his daughter, who told his wife and Eric went to jail for 18 months. There was no violence, but again the law required that tag"

So let me get this straight. What do you think happened to his daughter. Just a little feelie for Eric's sexual amusement? No harm, no foul? This is a violent action, done without the underage daughter's consent. Why did she tell her mother since it was only a little touching?

Ask yourself this question. Josh Duggar reportedly did the same thing to his sisters. Why cancel the show? He just did a little touching.