Menlo Church in California is cleaning up its staff after allegations that the head pastor, who resigned, allowed his son to work with minors while knowing his son was attracted to them. Pastor John Ortberg was the pastor in charge at the time. But the church still wasn't done and, after learning of more improper leadership behavior, they have now terminated another employee for inappropriate actions online. The employee, Michael, who was the worship director of the church, was terminated for inappropriate online behavior and is currently under investigation by law enforcement, The Christian Post reports.
A press release from the church succinctly explains what happened:
"Earlier this week, we were contacted by someone who claimed that, many years ago, Michael engaged in inappropriate behavior online. The allegation was from several years before Michael joined our staff. When our leaders learned about the allegation, Michael was immediately put on leave. Due to the claim, we contacted law enforcement, and they are undertaking an investigation."
After receiving clearance from law enforcement to share details about the investigation, the church shared in a press release that church leadership will also be following up with volunteers whom Michael may have worked with. Church leaders do not believe that anyone at the church was affected by the worship leader’s past actions.
The church cites a commitment “to making sure our church remains a safe and secure environment” as a part of why leaders ultimately decided to terminate Michael’s employment.
Congregants were also encouraged to reach out to their campus pastor, or an independent group called Zero Abuse if they have any concerns or information.
The statement concluded by calling congregants to reflect on God’s presence even amid difficult times.
“We recognize that this news is heavy to receive. It may evoke difficult memories or emotions for many of us. This is a hard reminder that our churches, by the grace of God, are gatherings of ordinary, imperfect people. We are in this together, and our staff and pastors are here for you,” the statement read.
“We also invite you to read this reflection to remind us that Jesus is still in our midst. Please join us in praying for everyone who has suffered or is suffering,” the statement concluded.
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John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.