Holly V. Hays

West Lafayette [RPCNA] Pastor, Elders At Center Of IndyStar Investigation Resign

Written by Holly V. Hays |
Monday, January 24, 2022
Earlier this month, the judicial commission announced Olivetti was required to “refrain from the exercise of office of teaching elder until the judicial process is complete.” At that time, the commission announced that charges had been dropped against two of the 2020 Immanuel elders, Zachary Blackwood and Nate Pfeiffer, who had since resigned their positions.

The pastor and elders of a West Lafayette church accused of mishandling the response to sexual abuse among minors in the congregation will resign.
An IndyStar investigation published in December found Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church Pastor Jared Olivetti and elders Keith Magill, Ben Larson and David Carr failed to act with urgency in responding to inappropriate behavior and sexual offenses by a boy at the church.
Olivetti, Magill, Larson and Carr have submitted their resignations, Ken de Jong, Immanuel’s provisional moderator, announced during Sunday morning’s service (a live stream of which is available, but unlisted, on the church’s YouTube page).
De Jong only briefly discussed the resignations, which he said had also been announced during congregation meeting earlier in the week.
Olivetti’s resignation, de Jong told the congregation, will be handled by the Great Lakes Gulf Presbytery over the coming weeks. The church’s current elder board has accepted resignations from Carr, Larson and Magill. Their resignations, de Jong told the congregation, are effective Monday.
“They have done so very reluctantly,” de Jong said, “and do so specifically to encourage the growth and development of this congregation.”
Ecclesiastical charges are pending against Olivetti, Carr, Larson and Magill, stemming from regional and national investigations within the denomination. IndyStar has reached out to each of those men for further comment, as well as leaders in the Presbytery and Synod.
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5 Things To Know About Church Child Sex Abuse Scandal In West Lafayette, Ind.

Written by Holly V. Hays |
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Church leaders were aware of the abuse for nearly five months before informing the congregation. Immanuel elders were made aware of the allegations — broadly, not necessarily in detail — in April 2020, after one family confronted Olivetti about abuse and reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services, according to church records…Despite recommendations from the committee appointed to advise the elders, the congregation was not notified of the abuse until September 6, 2020.

A West Lafayette, Indiana, pastor could potentially be removed from office following an investigation into his handling of allegations of sexual abuse within his congregation.
Jared Olivetti, who is the head pastor at Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church, and other elders who served in 2020 are under investigation by the denomination and are facing religious charges at the national level, according to multiple interviews and documents obtained by IndyStar, after the elder board intentionally kept quiet allegations of abuse involving eight children from six families.
The perpetrator, a teenage boy, is a relative of Olivetti. The pastor failed to recuse himself despite the clear conflict of interest and shaped Immanuel’s internal investigation. (IndyStar is not indicating the relationship between the two to avoid identifying the boy. The Star does not name minors unless they are charged as adults.)
Here are five things you need to know about our investigation into the handling of abuse at the West Lafayette church.
‘No sanctuary’:A boy sexually abused up to 15 kids. His pastor relative protected him.
The head pastor was aware of abusive behavior as early as October 2019
Olivetti was made aware of inappropriate behavior toward two children from the congregation in October 2019, according to internal church records obtained by IndyStar, when the boy was seen reaching down the back of a child’s pants and again when he allegedly propositioned another child and touched their chest without their consent.
Apparently unknown to Olivetti at that time was the fact that the boy had already begun seriously abusing children from at least two other children, according to church records.
Church leaders intentionally delayed notifying Presbytery of the allegations
In a July 2020 meeting with Joshua Greiner, a pastor at neighboring Faith Church West, Olivetti said elder meeting notes regarding the allegations were going to be kept in a separate record from notes that would otherwise be shared with Presbytery.
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