Pentecostal Pastor Faces Over 30 Charges Related to Child Sexual Assault

By Sarah Einselen
pentecostal pastor mark hatcher
Founding pastor Mark Hatcher, Sr., preaches at a service of nondenominational Pentecostal church Holy Ghost Headquarters in Philadelphia, Pa. (Photo via Instagram)

The founding pastor of a Pentecostal church in Philadelphia faces nearly three dozen criminal charges after three people told police he molested them when they were children.

Mark Hatcher Sr., 59, leads Holy Ghost Headquarters, a nondenominational Pentecostal church that meets at The Met Philadelphia opera house. His biography indicates he launched his own evangelistic crusades in 1983 and started the church the same year.

Hatcher faces 34 criminal charges, including a dozen felony charges, relating to the alleged sexual abuse of three minors, court records show. Charges include one count of rape, four counts of indecent assault of someone less than 13 years old, and five counts of indecent assault of someone under 16 years old, among other alleged crimes.

According to the probable cause affidavit obtained by The Roys Report (TRR), two of the alleged victims are relatives of Hatcher and one used to attend his church.

TRR called Hatcher’s attorney, Robert Gamburg, for comment but did not hear back. Gamburg told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Hatcher denied doing anything wrong.

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Gamburg reportedly claimed the alleged victims had made up their reports, but wouldn’t say what he thought their motive would be.

Estimates indicate no more than a tenth of rapes reported to police are deemed false reports, CNN reported. The outlet also noted that some reports are labeled false because there isn’t enough evidence to file charges, not because authorities don’t believe they occurred.

The Inquirer reported that the three accusers faced their alleged abuser last week in court when Hatcher went in for a preliminary hearing. They described Hatcher as their father figure and pastor, who got them alone and then suddenly groped them, according to the Inquirer.

The probable cause affidavit shows Hatcher is accused of molesting three children from 2000-2008.

One alleged victim told police he was 6 and 7 years old when Hatcher exposed himself to or molested him five times, the affidavit indicates.

Another alleged victim said she was 15 when Hatcher sexually assaulted her, according to the affidavit.

The third alleged victim told police she was 13 when Hatcher pinned her down and raped her, smothering her screams for help, according to the affidavit.

That girl, who’s now grown, reported the rape two years later and was deemed credible, but no charges were filed, the Inquirer reported. Authorities recovered the records from that case and are pressing charges now, the newspaper reported after Hatcher’s arrest last month.

Hatcher is still featured prominently on the church’s website as of Tuesday. TRR called and emailed the church but received no response.

Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.



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6 thoughts on “Pentecostal Pastor Faces Over 30 Charges Related to Child Sexual Assault”

  1. It just doesn’t stop – I would not trust a single evangelical or pentecostal pastor at this point…😥

    1. sarah mcclure

      Would you trust a MARRIED one? Because the overwhelming majority of evangelical and pentacostal pastors who have engaged in sexual abuse are married … which stands to reason given the deeply ingrained suspicion of single people in general within the evangelical and pentacostal subcultures and the reluctance to appoint/hire/call single persons as pastors or church leaders/officers. [Yeah, I know that’s not what you meant, but the point bears noting. I can’t tell you how many times over the past 40-some years I’ve heard Bishops/Conference Superintendents/Overseers/church boards tell immensely gifted single ministers—many who were ordained by the same Bishops/Superintendents/Overseers—point blank that they won’t appoint/hire them until they’re married.]

      1. Tim McCutcheon

        I don’t think ‘single’ is a reference to marital status. Though the article is silent on Hatcher’s relationship status, he is married with 5 children. Single in this case is more likely not trusting any pastor.

    2. Tim McCutcheon

      Or Catholic or Episcopal priest. Or Boy Scout leader. It’s hard to get good statistics, but the level of abuse within Christian organizations is about the same as the general population. Another reason to conclude that there is no god making them more moral nor one who bothers to protect the innocent.

      1. Casting doubt on the existence of Holy God is not recommended just because humanity is evil. Evil exists in this world because of man’s disobedience to the very God who lovingly created him.
        Blaming God, or doubting His existence will only bring judgment. This man and those like him will answer for their disobedience and for the damage they’ve done to innocent children.
        Man is inherently evil and it is only by God’s grace that any of us are saved.
        Future humanity will continue to curse God and refuse repentance, thereby sealing their eternal fate.
        “I say to you that He will execute their avenging in quickness. Nevertheless, the Son of Man having come, will He find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:8

  2. Mark Hatcher’s story here reminds me of Mark Driscoll’s story elsewhere online, abuse of any and every kind is unacceptable, especially in “church”, there are many stories of abuse by these narcissistic men who call themselves “pastors”, Driscoll and Hatcher tattoo the name of Jesus on their clothes and books and sermons but they are workers of evil.

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