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Head of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries Resigns in Wake of Sex Abuse Scandal

Por Josh Pastor
scott martin chi alpha
E. Scsott Martin has resigned as national director of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, the national college outreach of the Assemblies of God. (Video screengrab)

The national director of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, the official Assemblies of God (AG) college outreach ministry, has resigned in the wake of an ongoing sex abuse scandal and alleged coverup involving sex offender Daniel Savala. 

E. Scott Martin, who had been national director of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries since 2014, is no longer on-staff at the AG ministry as of last week, as first reportado by The Christian Post. In a statement to El Informe Roys (TRR), an AG spokesperson said the organization does not comment “on matters relating to personnel.” 

No reason was given for Martin’s resignation. However, the AG press office directed media to a declaración regarding the Savala scandal. It states in part that AG leaders are “heartbroken to hear allegations related to Daniel Savala and the pain his reported actions caused. The Assemblies of God stands in strong opposition to the teachings and practices he followed.” 

The statement also references the denomination’s governing body, adding: “The General Council continues to take appropriate actions, including dismissal of ministers, in response to the investigative findings.” 

The statement adds that leadership of Chi Alpha, an AG ministry which operates on 300 college campuses, had been aware of Savala’s status as a sex offender at least back to 2018. “National Chi Alpha . . . made relevant Chi Alpha leaders aware of his status and warned them to cease contact and not permit students or leaders to be around him,” it stated. 

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daniel savala
Daniel Savala (center) pictured with several Chi Alpha-affiliated students. (Courtesy of XA and The Lions Den)

Savala ha sido acusado of raping or sexually assaulting at least 13 men and minors connected to Chi Alpha over more than two decades.

Él era detenido in June and indicted in September, along with his former protégé Chris Hundl, for sexual abuse of two minors. Hundl, an ordained AG minister, had led Baylor University’s Chi Alpha chapter. Additional charges against Savala were added in October, alleging other child sex abuse crimes. 

Several other leaders within the Chi Alpha ministry have been removed from leadership over their alleged involvement in sexual misconduct or cover-up.

Will Robinson, former Chi Alpha chapter leader at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, fue detenido last July on child sex abuse charges and will soon answer the charges in court. In May, former Chi Alpha North Texas District Director Eli Stewart fue despedido from his College Station church and Eli Gautreaux, Chi Alpha South Texas Director, was suspended from his position.

Pastor J.R. Armstrong of Mauriceville All Gospel Church in Orange, Texas, ha llamado the AG’s response to the decades-long abuse scandal “shameful.” In an August sermon, he urged several AG leaders to resign including Martin. 

armstrong pastors assemblies of god AG
On Aug. 13, 2023, Pastor J.R. Armstrong addresses his congregation at Mauriceville All Gospel Church in Orange, Texas. (Video screengrab)

En un comunicado a TRR, Armstrong called Martin’s resignation a “first step from the Assemblies of God national leadership team in taking responsibility for a systematic failure.” The Texas pastor added that leaders failed “to follow up on reports of a known sexual predator operating in our campus ministries, with the cover of multiple missionaries and campus pastors that were under Martin’s supervision.”

Ron Bloomingkemper Jr., a graphic designer in the Houston area, has been among the most vocal recent whistleblowers about Savala’s conduct. In April, Bloomingkemper and a few other survivor advocates founded online forum XA & The Lions Den to expose Savala’s misdeeds and web of connections. 

savala
On June 2, 2023, Daniel Savala was arrested at his Houston residence on child sex abuse charges. (Photo Courtesy: U.S. Marshals Task Force)

The whistleblower posed a question when asked about his response to Martin’s resignation. “Why was he allowed to resign?” asked Bloomingkemper. “The fact that he wasn’t terminated speaks volumes about the internal rot of this organization.”

Monica Roeger, a moderator at the forum, also noted the lack of any direct comment from Martin—and that notice came during the Thanksgiving holiday week. “I think every time I’ve seen an email announcing someone’s resignation, it has always been forced,” she said. “If the email comes from the person, then they helped make the choice.” 

According to his bio, Martin had been on staff with Chi Alpha for more than 33 years. As national director, his role was to oversee and develop Chi Alpha around the U.S. and assist in planting Chi Alpha chapters around the world. 

The investigation by the AG and by law enforcement continues. Texas pastor Armstrong said he prays that any leader “with direct knowledge of Danial Savala’s ongoing access to students and children would step down immediately,” he stated.

“Our credibility, ability to govern going forward—and, indeed, survive as a fellowship—depends on full accountability at the National and District levels,” said Armstrong.

Este artículo ha sido actualizado.

 

Periodista independiente Josh Shepherd escribe sobre fe, cultura y políticas públicas para varios medios outlets. He and his family live in the Washington, D.C. area.

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4 Respuestas

  1. E. Scott Martin could not have done anything to stop Savala. Minister discipline is handled at the district level, and in order for a minister to have his or her credentials pulled, a recommendation has to come from the district level, and since Savala did not hold credentials, there was nothing that could be done to him. Sam Houston Chi Alpha leadership is to blame here, not the national leadership of the Assemblies of God.

    1. He could have ensured that they were fired them from working with Chi Alpha (missionary appointment is separate from ministerial credentials) or informed their districts, provided evidence, and pushed the issue of having them disciplined with their district.

      Plus, no one at any point has said, “How could this happen after all of the time Scott Martin spent building a culture that made it clear what the correct response to sexual abuse was?”

      He could have driven down to Texas himself and spoke at the related Chi Alpha groups to their students, explained what a monster this man was, forbid anyone and everyone from associating with him ever again, and refused to leave until it was clear how this was to be dealt with if it took him months to do so. I know this may sound overblown but Daniel Savala was using the ministry Scott Martin was leading as his personal s*x trafficking ring! Scott Martin should have been unable to sleep until he knew that it was being dealt with the right way.

      1. Of course the reason he didn’t was because he had to protect the brand. The victims did not matter until the dumpster fire was large enough to require action. I suspect he was asked to resign, with a nice severance package no doubt.

  2. I suspect Martin was encouraged to quietly slip out the back door. Thus, he keeps a nice retirement pension and evades accountability for failing to supervise those under him. AG joins that elite group of ministries and churches who carefully protect their branding instead of tending to the flock. I’m glad I’m no longer a member.

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Your tax-deductible gift helps our journalists report the truth and hold Christian leaders and organizations accountable. Give a gift of $30 or more to The Roys Report this month, and you will receive a copy of “The Atlas Factor: Shifting Leadership Onto the Shoulders of Jesus” by Lance Ford.