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Bringing Secrets into the Light Part 2: Allegations of abuse and cover up at North Love Baptist and Reformers Unanimous

Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 10:56 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “We’ve talked to 21 females who say they were sexually abused at North Love or one of the related ministries,” said Nate Plautz.

Nate Plautz co-founded a private North Love survivors support group. He says at least one of those sexual abuse allegations implicates a man who co-founded Reformers Unanimous.

Steve Currington is a former addict who started Reformers Unanimous with now former North Love Baptist pastor Paul Kingsbury. The Rockford-based addiction recovery organization has branched out to more than 1100 chapters throughout the country.

The alleged accuser of Currington also claims Kingsbury knew about the abuse accusations at the time of Currington’s death in 2010, which we covered at 23 WIFR.

Rodney Queen is the pastor of Central Fellowship Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia. Queen posted a video to his Facebook page last Wednesday, shortly after a post by then RU International director Ben Burks announcing his resignation due to “recently became aware that immorality or sin had been unscriptually covered in the ministry we served.”

Pastor Queen said by phone Tuesday he sent several men and women to the Reformers Unanimous long- term program in Rockford prior to 2015.

“They relayed back to me about shenanigans going on up there. It was corroborated by several not just one but several and one even being a family member of mine that we sent up there. It was common knowledge by many up there,” said Queen.

Queen says he had a conversation with Burks in 2015 about the rumors of sexual immorality reported to his students.

“I asked Ben Burks if there was anything to what I was hearing. He said ‘no there’s nothing going on in fact I’ve heard of no rumors, nothing he just flat out denied it.’”

Queen says there was something from that more than 30 minute phone call that he believed seemed strange.

“He never once asked me ‘what are you talking about or who are the accused? What was being said?’ But of course he knew but he lied to me about it.”

“He misled people with what he said. There was plenty of stuff under the rug. And when that stuff is confronted to your face what do you do? You hang your head in shame and admit that yes these were things.”

“Finally a lot of people are realizing that this is not an isolated incident but this is a pattern we believe it to be a pattern of abuse, and also a pattern of cover-ups,” said Plautz.

Plautz says this pattern of abuse and cover-ups reaches far and wide, even as far as Bolivia.

“I think we are close to 600 signatures on a petition and what we’re requesting is NLBC immediately recall admitted sexual predator Richard DeVall.”

North Love has sponsored DeVall as a missionary to Bolivia teaming with Baptist Pioneer Mission. Devall’s been there for more than ten years, despite admitting to sexually assaulting a woman when in college at Bob Jones University. 23 News talked to that woman who, for the purpose of this storying we’re calling “Julia.”

“After he assaulted me he stalked me for the next several days up until he left the state,” said Julia.

Julia said after confessing, bob Jones University kicked DeVall out of school but brought him back a year later.

“They called at work and said he was coming back to school to finish his degree so he could serve God. So I asked how would I be protected and they said he wouldn’t be allowed off campus at all the rest of his schooling. But then, only a week or so later, he applied to work with me again,” said Julia.

Kingsbury told 23 News he could not at this time grant a request for an interview. Earlier this month he made a statement to WNIJ Public Radio saying, “Richard was held accountable for his sins that are being brought up and a confession and seeking of forgiveness was accomplished and punishment was meted out to the satisfaction of those in the spiritual realm. I am not aware of (any) pending legal issues”.

But Julia says she filed a police report in May of 2012, when police in Greenville, South Carolina attempted to bring Devall in for questioning. He fled to Bolivia at the recommendation of Pastor Kingsbury.

“I didn’t talk directly to Kingsbury but my pastor did. The police said to me that they contacted Kingsbury and the next thing that he had just returned to Bolivia. When I talked to Baptist Pioneer Mission, they said Kingsbury sent him out of the country without even telling him,” said Julia.

Julia says she received extreme pushback from Baptist Pioneer Mission before filing the report.

The mission board offered me anything I wanted. They said name what I wanted to agree not to cooperate with police. And they said if I did cooperate with the police I would be sending people to hell, that every Bolivian that went to hell that he wouldn’t be able to administer to, that would be on me,” said Julia.

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