Opinion: Former Harvest Volunteer Publishes Falsehoods; People Quick to Retweet

By Julie Roys
Jim Engleman Singer
Former Harvest Bible Chapel security volunteer, James Engleman, publishes dubunked allegations against Julie Roys in video posted to YouTube.

A former security volunteer at Harvest Bible Chapel this week published a video accusing me of “burying” explicit and predatory texts by a former Harvest youth pastor for unethical reasons.

The accusations are baseless. And those with first-hand information about the situation have confirmed their falsehood.

Yet in the current climate, truth doesn’t matter. These baseless allegations are now being circulated online. And those spreading the allegations seem to have done little homework to determine whether the allegations are true.

In his video, former Harvest volunteer James Engleman alleges that I received “screenshots of all of the sexting text messages that had gone back and forth between Paxton Singer” and boys Singer allegedly was “sexually exploiting.”

According to Engleman, the text messages said things like, “Do you get erections when you wrestle other boys? Do you want to meet me at a hotel tonight? Can you send me a picture of yourself in your underwear?”

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Engleman says that in a phone call (presumably in 2019) I told him I had the texts but wouldn’t publish them because Singer “had suffered enough,” plus I was expecting a “big story” from Singer’s father.

Engleman seems to believe that if I published these alleged texts, it might have affected the outcome of Singer’s trial. Singer, who was charged in 2018 with sexual exploitation of a minor, was convicted of disorderly conduct in November 2019. The conviction was overturned in 2021.

Engleman also alleges that within two months of his phone call with me, “The Roys Report (TRR) was born.”

Engleman suggests that Singer’s “big donor daddy,” who allegedly “was connected” to David Wisen—a member of the wealthy Van Kampen family—had something to do with TRR’s launch.

These allegations are very serious. They’re also patently false.

First, TRR has never received a dime from Paxton Singer’s father, Lloyd Singer, or from David Wisen. Engleman is simply forwarding a baseless theory.

But more importantly, I never received any texts or screenshots of texts from Paxton Singer to teenage boys. None.

Furthermore, Engleman says I received Singer’s explicit texts through asubpoena my attorney issued to former Harvest counseling pastor Rob Williams. The subpoena would have been part of my defense against a frivolous lawsuit Harvest and MacDonald brought against me and four others in 2018.

However, Williams—now the executive director of care and counseling at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Virginia—confirmed Wednesday in a text to me that he never possessed any of Singer’s texts either.

“As I recall, you saw the texts from Paxton but never possessed them, right?” I texted Williams.

Williams responded, “I never possessed any of those texts, you are right. I heard bad pastors describe some of what they read in text thread. Erections and hotel details came out in court. I certainly did it (sic) send you any texts like that.”

Rob Williams Paxton Singer Jim Engleman

Williams also sent an email to me on Thursday, responding to Engleman’s allegations.

“The texts that were exchanged between Paxton and one student. . . were printed and Rick Donald (former Harvest assistant senior pastor) would have described and read a few aloud to a few of us pastors,” Williams wrote. “Rick never allowed anyone else to hold those papers, never allowed us to read them, or have copies of them. I never possessed them so it would be impossible to share them with Julie Roys or Jim Engleman.”

Similarly, Ryan Mahoney, who was a co-defendant in MacDonald’s and Harvest’s lawsuit against me, tweeted Wednesday that he never received Singer’s texts either. As a co-defendant, Mahoney would have received responses to any subpoenas my attorney issued. The only exception would be if the response came in the small window between when Harvest filed a motion to suppress information discovered through subpoena and when Harvest dropped the suit.

Clearly, the lynchpin of Engleman’s accusation—that I possessed Singer’s explicit texts and buried them—is false.

I confronted Engleman Wednesday with Williams’ and Mahoney’s statements debunking his claims. Yet rather than retract his false statements, Engleman on Thursday tweeted screenshots of texts he alleged I had buried.

But the screenshots Engleman tweeted were not of explicit texts between Singer and minors. Instead, the screenshots showed texts between Harvest pastors discussing a report by an “Aurora dad” that Singer had sent inappropriate texts to the dad’s son.

None of the pastors in the text thread said they had seen Singer’s texts themselves. So, the thread represented only second-hand reports or hearsay of Singer’s alleged explicit texts to minors.

And I don’t report hearsay.

Engleman Paxton Singer

However, I did use the text thread Engleman tweeted as evidence for something else. The entire thread, along with other documents Williams produced in response to my subpoena, showed that former Harvest Pastor Craig Steiner had failed to properly report Singer’s alleged child abuse to authorities.

I published several stories about Steiner’s failure to report. You can find them here and here. Soon after my reports published, Steiner resigned from Harvest.

I don’t know why Engleman is spreading defamatory rumors about me and others he alleges are connected to me. For example, Engelman detailed allegations against former Harvest Elder Dan George, whom he alleged served on my “initial board.”

George never served on my board, and disputed Engleman’s allegations in a comment posted to Facebook, which is posted below:

Dan George Engleman Harvest

It should be noted, however, that Engleman, who once was a critic of disgraced pastor James MacDonald, has now become a MacDonald apologist. In the video, Engleman argues that people should “make room for (MacDonald’s) repentance.”

This, even though James MacDonald has never truly repented for anything. He’s even suing one of the Harvest whistleblowers, Mancow Muller, as well as the law firm that found MacDonald had misused millions in church funds.

Survivor advocates spread unsubstantiated rumors

But what’s most disheartening about Engleman’s video isn’t the video itself. Engleman has been producing angry, misleading videos for some time. Most people familiar with what happened at Harvest know to disregard them.

What’s disheartening is how a new audience is eagerly spreading Engleman’s rumors without verifying what he says. And people you’d expect to be wary of deceptive troll accounts are instead retweeting them.

For example, Amy Smith, an abuse survivor advocate, on Wednesday retweeted a tweet from an account titled “NOT Julie Roys.” The retweet advertised a “bombshell torching of Julie Roys” and linked to Engleman’s video.

Engleman megachurch mouse tweet

This is the same troll account that attacked me relentlessly for reporting child abuse coverup by John MacArthur and Grace Community Church.

The account also has labeled the survivor community “#VictimhoodCulture” and attacked Lori Anne Thompson with names I won’t repeat. This seems a strange bedfellow for an abuse survivor advocate.

Yet Smith has also been retweeting Protestia and David Morrill tweets, which is bizarre given those accounts’ track record for misogyny, sensationalism, and half-truths. Morrill has similarly ridiculed the survivor community with the “VictimhoodCulture” hashtag, and does disgusting things like mock a racial trauma counselor for his lisp.

Smith’s embrace of these fringe and hateful voices is concerning.

Smith also published a blog Friday with Engleman’s video and leading questions.

“There are questions that James Engleman has asked in relation to (Singer’s) case and Julie’s decision not to report further on Paxton Singer,” Smith wrote. “. . . Was there any professional or financial incentive from donors and/or supporters to forgo further reporting on the Paxton Singer case?”

Similarly, Ashley Easter, another victim advocate, retweeted Engleman’s allegations Wednesday night.

In response to Easter’s tweet, I tweeted information showing that Engleman’s allegations had been debunked by Rob Williams and Ryan Mahoney. I also offered to provide Easter with Williams’ email so she could talk to him herself.

Easter never asked for Williams’ email, but instead defended her right to “post opinions I think are interesting.”

Easter also retweeted a David Morrill tweet attacking me.

David Morrill Ashley Easter

Another “church abuse awareness” Facebook page reposted Engleman’s bait-and-switch texts, claiming the “receipts” supported the video.

A blog that considers itself “an online community of faith” posted Engleman’s video and said if I don’t’ have a good answer, I’m “toast.” Though the blog has posted some decent content in the past, I don’t regularly visit it, so it’s surprising I even saw the comment. But what I don’t understand is if the site’s author wanted a response, why didn’t he come to me and ask for one?

I’m all for holding Christian leaders accountable, but that’s not at all what this is. This is gossip—and I rarely use that word because it’s been so horribly misused to try and silence legitimate whistleblowers and critics.

But that’s what the spreading of unconfirmed, sensational reports about another person is. This is wrong. It’s ugly. And it certainly isn’t Christian.

So friends, can we stop? If you hear an allegation about me, or anyone else for that matter, don’t publish it unless you can confirm the information.

That’s the ethic I and other journalists use every day. But it’s also just following the Golden Rule. And whether you’re a journalist, a blogger, an advocate, or just someone who tweets, it’s a good and decent principle for life.

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25 thoughts on “Opinion: Former Harvest Volunteer Publishes Falsehoods; People Quick to Retweet”

  1. Mellisa Fernandez

    You are in the devil’s crosshairs for exposing sin & moral lapses in Christian churches.
    I think a “congratulations” is in order but also an “I’m sorry you are going through this.”
    Julie, you rock.

  2. Gal. 5:14-16 “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

      1. When you SEE evil happening in front of you, it is verified. When a stranger tells you that evil happened, you need to verify it before your start reporting it as truth.

      2. Andrew Thomas

        Gary W,

        So am I, Christians no longer go to/quote Jesus for the answers.

        Paul says ““For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

        Jesus said something different in Matthew 22:34–36, “Jesus answered by saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments”

        “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” notice Paul quotes himself, not Jesus.

        Mr. Ralph J, I am not attacking you, most Evangelical/Charismatic pastors (I have been exposed to) no longer use the ministry of Jesus for their foundation, elevate Paul above Christ, and steer the congregation to Paul for answers. We have gone away from the Christ in Christian.

        1. In the Early Church, the gospels were of great importance and from my understanding were given pride of place. I read Paul but I do not use him to spend all my time in abstract, theological issues. You can hide in apologetics and still be a jerk and unloving. That is my critique of die-hard Calvinists. They may be my Brothers but they need to chill out.

          1. While sometimes appropriate, we have a habit, we Christians, of grabbing ‘verses’ to think we prove a point. At the same time we forget that all of Paul’s letters, for example, were written in specific circumstances, and written as coherent documents. Who gets a letter from their aunt and reads a sentence a day and thinks each sentence stands alone?

        2. I understand your objection to pastors leveraging Paul in a self-serving manner. However, it isn’t appropriate to think of them as opposed. Paul functioned primarily in a context of gentile converts from paganism organizing from nothing. Jesus functioned in a setting of established Judaism which in many ways lost the spirit of the law it so zealously adhered to. The common denominator was God’s spirit at work in different contexts.

        3. What of the Doctrine of Inspiration? Is not all of Scripture inspired?

          Was not Paul writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit as per 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV): “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Jesus did not record his own words in the Gospels. They were penned under inspiration of his apostles.

          No part of scripture is “more inspired” than another! For this reason, we need to be careful of playing the ‘red-letter’ words of Christ against The Pauline corpus… or any other part of scripture. None of it will lead to a fruitful or healthy understanding of God’s Word.

          1. Gordon Hackman

            Thank you Brad. I’ve confronted Andrew about this is in the past. He has a faulty understanding of scripture, and tries to create a conflict between Jesus and Paul where there is none. Caveat Lector.

          2. Andrew Thomas

            Brad K and Gordon H,

            Pointing out the fact that the modern church and “Christians” turn to Paul before Jesus, is just that, a fact. If Paul is so great as to replace Christ as the foundation of our faith, why is Christianity so corrupt and broken? Pastors are using Paul to increase their wealth, ignore the 10 commandments, mislead, and exercise control, by using his letters out of context or piece mealing a sermon out of different verses.

            Once you start to compare the Gospel of Christ to how most church institutions are being run (and the people they allow in positions of power), you can see why MMLJ are virtually ignored and Christ is being replaced by a man (all men regardless of inspiration are sinners: see Moses, David, Peter, Paul, Judas, etc …) there was only one sinless man and there are 4 books containing His wisdom and behavior.

            “Was not Paul writing under inspiration of the Holy Spirit as per 2 Timothy 3:16–17”

            You are quoting Paul to vouch for Paul (2 Peter 3:14-18 would have been a better source). Paul has his place, but he is not my savior or foundation. I do not turn to him if I need guidance/understanding/strength/validation.

          3. Andrew Thomas

            Brad K,

            When quoting 2 Timothy 3 why not include the whole chapter, not just a piece to back up your point?

            Note: I tried to post the chapter, it is too long.

            If you read it, do you see anything familiar to current church culture in this letter? We are to go to God for leadership, before we go to a man.

            GH,

            If you view my standing up for Christ (Son of God) as creating conflict, then maybe we have gotten to the root of the issue in the modern church.

      3. The evil here is false accusation. I have been active on watchblogs for over 7 years. I sometimes see them go too far jumping on some bandwagon that is not based in truth. Hence the warning of not biting and devouring each other. Why do you have a problem with a very straight forward scripture? I am as against evil in the pulpit more than most. But evil can happen elsewhere. Are you saying that Julie Roys is evil?

  3. Steven Simonyi-Gindele

    Julie you are doing great work. There are lot’s of free riders trying to take advantage of you and your good name and the good reputation for accuracy and truthfulness that you are building for the Roys Report. I suggest that you hire a young attorney as a full time staffer. Raise the funds needed to pay him (it should be a man with an Alpha personality) and and sue those who refuse to apologize and refuse to remove false postings. You should not be wasting your emotional and spiritual energy on predators trying to tag unto your good name. Handle critics like John Macarthur handles them. John MacArthur does not get directly involved with any of them. You have greater freedom to use the courts to silence false accusers because you are not a pastor and you have different responsibilities than GCC and John Macarthur has. There are actually custom search functions that you could have someone on your staff use to track postings about your. Also you can advertise for volunteers to provide certain services like tracking postings. Even some retired lawyers would probably love to work for you.

  4. Dear Julie, I’m sure you knew at the start of your Roy’s Report career that you would be attacked and probably even relentlessly so over things you are not guilty of. I wish this whole Harvest Bible Chapel garbage would just go away and leave everybody alone but it just keeps popping up like a weed you can’t get rid of. You have got more courage to do what you do then I could ever hope to have. I believe Pres. Ronald Reagan called Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the IRON LADY. No problem for me to apply that title to you as well. And you certainly deserve it. I have the highest level of regard and respect for what you do. May the Lord God bless and protect you as you continue in this very vital career that He has called you to. Blessings upon blessings to you and your family.

  5. Thank you for your integrity, even in the face of personal attack. Your commitment to the truth is a beacon of light in times when opinion trumps fact, and our sinful hearts serve click-bait and likes. I am thankful for your work encouraging Christians to desire the truth to triumph, no matter the cost to fame or glory.

  6. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5:10

  7. Julie, I started to watch the Engelman video that was posted on a survivor’s page on Facebook. As soon as he started defending MacDonald, I knew he was not being truthful. I stopped watching and blocked the survivor’s future posts. Thank you for addressing his allegations in your customary forthright way. I’m really looking forward to next week’s Restore Conference and can’t thank you enough for the important work you’re doing. God bless you.

  8. Jessica Brussaard

    I just gave an extra/unplanned donation in support of JR after reading this article. Julie – your integrity and the work you are doing are appreciated more than you know.

  9. I did security at harvest for years before this Engleman. We were good volunteers, God fearing and helpful. Obviously security gives some people a big head and inflates their big man mentality like Engleman. He needs to sit down be quiet and act like a follower of Christ.

  10. Andrew Thomas

    James Engleman’s comments might have something to do with MacD forming a “Act Like Men” motorcycle club (aren’t we supposed to act like Christ?) and is trying for a position in the organization.

  11. I listened to James and he seems like a bitter man. You never make judgement until you hear the other side.

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