Trial Ordered For Pastor Accused Of Kidnapping And Abusing Boy

At one point, the church members allegedly drove the boy to the desert outside Barstow, where they allegedly had him "dig his own grave," Voorhees said.

A pastor and two members of a Corona group home accused of beating, pepper-spraying and using pliers on the body of a 13-year-old boy to punish him for sexually assaulting his younger sister must stand trial for kidnapping and other charges, a judge ruled today.

Nicholas James Craig, 22, Darryll Duane Jeter, 28, and Lonny Lee Remmers, 54, could each face more than 15 years in prison if convicted in the case, which was the subject of a preliminary hearing today before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harry "Skip" Staley.

The judge found there was sufficient evidence to bound Remmers over for trial on one count each of kidnapping and making criminal threats, as well as two counts each of assault with a deadly weapon and child abuse.

Staley dismissed two counts of assault and a child abuse charge against Craig. However, the judge held the defendant to answer charges of kidnapping, making criminal threats, false imprisonment and inflicting corporal injury on a minor.

Jeter was ordered to stand trial on the same counts, though Staley dismissed one count each of assault and child abuse.

The men are slated to appear for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment on Oct. 3. All remain free on bail.

During today's hearing, Corona police Detective Brad Voorhees described four separate instances of alleged child abuse involving the defendants, who are affiliated with the Heart of Worship mission in Corona.

Voorhees testified that in March, the mother of a 13-year-old boy -- identified in court documents only as Jacob -- brought her son to Remmers, a pastor, asking him to keep the youth at the group home on 10th Street because the boy couldn't be trusted around his 7-year-old sister, whom he had sexually assaulted more than once.

According to the detective, Remmers, Craig and Jeter allegedly proceeded to abuse Jacob over the ensuing two weeks.

At one point, Craig and Jeter allegedly drove the boy to the desert outside Barstow, where they allegedly had him "dig his own grave," Voorhees said.

"They told him to get in the hole. He said he kept trying to get out, but they kept pushing him ... kicking him back in," the detective testified.

"He said they told him, 'This is what it feels like to be dead," Voorhees said.

According to testimony, a member of the group home told investigators that on one occasion, the boy was bound to a chair, placed inside a shower and doused with pepper spray. He was allegedly left tied up in the bathroom for an hour, heaving and struggling for air, his nose bleeding from violently shaking his head to clear his nostrils.

On another occasion, the defendants allegedly encircled the 13-year-old during a Bible study session in Remmers' garage and directed him to remove his shirt, according to Voorhees.

He alleged Remmers took a pair of pliers, pinched Jacob's left nipple and twisted it until the boy "cried out for him to stop."

A witness later told investigators that he overhead the defendant say, "If it was up to me, I'd rip off your nipple and take a chunk out of your dick."

According to Voorhees, the same witness, Derrick Doughty, alleged he saw one of the defendants put a phone book over the boy's face and punch him with it, a practice that apparently assures minimal bruising.

The detective said when he examined the boy, he detected around 10 "faint" scratches on the child's back, as if he had been whipped with a belt, and a fading scar on his chest.

During cross-examination by Craig's attorney, Daniel Greene, Voorhees acknowledged the boy admitted sexually abusing his sister and told the detective he liked staying at the group home because it "offered him life and love."

"You recall Mr. Craig telling you he was trying to help Jacob by scaring him straight, instilling fear so that Jacob would not rape his sister again?" Greene asked.

"Yes," Voorhees said.

The attorney also asked whether the 13-year-old had said he feared for his life while standing in the desert "grave," and the detective replied the youth doubted the men were serious when they made him get into it.

A Humanist September 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
This story made me sick to read. Hope you all don't mind the share but it is a real tragedy perpetrated by a group in OUR midst, facilitated by a system that places trust in all the wrong places... Plus, you know how I feel about kids...especially the troubled ones. I am not saying all religions are doing or condoning behavior like this. Nor am I trying to paint those in our religious communities with a broad brush, We do, however, know that there are the extreme religious radicals like Pat Robertson and the 700 Club for instance. He recently was on t.v. telling a caller who was unhappy with his wife that the man should take his wife to Saudi Arabia where he would be able to legally tie her up and beat her into submission. After that program he was on stage with Mitt Romney who happily accepted his endorsement. YIKES!!!! This story should be a front page headline in other communities so that all know what radical religious zealots can give to those who have or know nothing. Too much belief in ones own divine power is a very dangerous thing. It both saddens and scares me and people and communities should not be relying on these venues for child care or protection as their first or only option. Yes this mother failed her child but the system definitely failed this mother and both her children too.
No one September 15, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Totally agree with you DDMH. I was raised in a fantical religion which promoted abuse tho not to this extent. Parents need to question so-called religious leaders who take literal the spare the rod spoil the child methods. These men were not Pastors but sadistic.pedophiles that need to go away!
TheMrs September 16, 2012 at 04:09 PM
There is a Christian "school" off 74 that promotes physical violence as a good way of raising children by using the rod scripture. I know, because my cousins daughter goes there.:( Too much religion is a good thing in my opinion. Enough religion, guided by the Holy Spirit and not muddied by our own selfish desires, will always tell us to love gently. It's those who get caught up in Old Testament ways as a form of discipline now who give a bad name to God and push people further from a relationship with Him. It's sad. The Bible is a great book to learn how NOT to repeat the past and constantly fail by following our desires. I don't know how people in authority, who have studied the same Bible I have, think its okay to harm a child. False prophets are in abundance, that's certain.
Roberto September 16, 2012 at 05:03 PM
The old testament and sharia law seem to have a lot in common. To bad some people never move forward. This is nothing more than spin doctoring the word of God.


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