JOIN US MAY 20-21 FOR RESTORE CONFERENCE

Mary
DeMuth

Scot
McKnight

Screenshot 2023-01-13 at 1.50.18 PM

Naghmeh
Panahi

Reporting the Truth.
Restoring the Church.

Philadelphia Pastor Convicted of Rape & Sexual Assault of 3 Minors

By Josh Shepherd
hatcher philadelphia
Rev. Mark Hatcher preaches at Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Facebook)

The pastor of a Pentecostal church in Philadelphia has been convicted of sexual assault of three minors, including a former congregant, in incidents dating back two decades.

On Wednesday, a jury in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, found Rev. Mark Hatcher, lead pastor of Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center, guilty of 10 counts of sex crimes against minors, according to court records. These included multiple charges of rape, statutory sexual assault, and indecent assault. 

Assistant District Attorney Caroline Goldstein, lead prosecutor in the case, told the jury that Hatcher used his position of authority and trust as a minister to prey on his three victims. In incidents between 2000 and 2008, Hatcher brought one of the victims to his home or to a church-owned property and assaulted them, according to a probable cause affidavit previously reported by The Roys Report (TRR). 

One girl, then age 13, stated that Hatcher brought her to an unoccupied home owned by the church that was under renovation, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer

While she was alone with him in the house, he pinned her to a mattress and raped her, covering her mouth as she screamed for help, according to the affidavit. That incident was reported in 2008 to Philadelphia police, but investigators say prosecutors at the time did not pursue charges.

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 “Baptistland: A Memoir of Abuse, Betrayal, and Transformation” by Christa Brown. To donate, click here.

A second victim, age 15 at the time, stated she was staying with Hatcher at his home for a time. Hatcher allegedly exposed himself to her and then fondled her breasts. She was “terrified during the encounter and unsure what to do,” reported the Inquirer.

A third victim, identified as a 22-year-old male, “testified about three inappropriate encounters at Hatcher’s home, when (the victim) was 6 and 7 years old,” stated KYW Newsradio. According to the report, it included an incident when “Hatcher kissed him and touched his buttocks under his clothes while he was playing with a Noah’s Ark toy.” 

The prosecution originally brought 34 criminal charges against Hatcher, but the jury found him guilty on 10 counts. 

However, the Pentecostal pastor has maintained his innocence. Hatcher’s attorney, Robert Gamburg, called on nearly a dozen character witnesses who testified that Hatcher had a reputation as a peaceful and nonviolent minister, reported the Inquirer. 

Following the verdict, Hatcher spoke briefly to reporters outside the courthouse. “It’s not fair,” he said. “There’s no truth in it.”

hatcher
In spring 2022, Rev. Mark Hatcher promotes his book ‘Chosen for the Challenge’ to congregants at Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo: Facebook)

Even after his arrest in May 2022, Hatcher continued to preach at Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center, which meets at The Metropolitan Opera House in downtown Philadelphia. Hatcher became lead pastor in 1983, taking over for his father who founded the church. 

TRR reached out to the church for a statement but did not hear back. 

The church’s website has been down since last year. A Facebook video posted by the church’s page on Feb. 14 apparently shows images from a recent service. 

The sentencing hearing for Hatcher has been set for May 23 at the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his family live in the Washington, D.C. area.

SHARE THIS:

GET EMAIL UPDATES!

Keep in touch with Julie and get updates in your inbox!

Don’t worry we won’t spam you.

More to explore
discussion

3 Responses

  1. Sexual sin and sexual abuse are rampant in Pentecostal circles/churches. I know as I was in the Pentecostal world and witnessed it first hand. Emotionalism is the very foundation of who they are and that leads to physical expression and experiences. It starts with children, teenagers…and leads into adulthood.
    They will deny and cover it up but it is a reality. There are many goods churches to choose from for your growing children that are not just based on a physical/entertainment/etc. but sound leaders and pastors. Take it serious.
    Parents…guard and protect your family.

  2. I am sorry for your experience. Unfortunately however, sexual exploitation seems to be rampant in essentially every expression of Christianity. It not limited to the emotionality of the Pentecostals.

  3. Many more like this clergy abound. But, as the holy writ indicate, “some men’s sins are made manifest and goes before judgement in this life; while some others await them in the end, in the last day of (YHVH’s) judgement”. Either way, You shall not escape the GOD of Justice.

    How these people continue to stand in the pulpit, teach, preach and use the Name of “God” year after year meanwhile operating out of hypocrisy truly boggles the mind. Disturbs the spirit.

    Wolves in sheep’s cloak encircling the pastures of church. Churches are hot beds where satan hides out
    and does its best work these days. And many congregants are in spiritual stupor to discern what is transpiring about them.

    Ministers: do not use your liberty in Christ as a cloak of maliciousness, but behave as servants of YHVH. Congregants: Awake O sleeper. It’s high time to arise from the dead; and Christ will shine light on you.

    Oh, I await the day when Ananias and Sapphira (the liars) effect will start to take place in church gatherings. Or as befell Hophni and Phinehas (the corrupt priests). Or as descended upon Abihu and Nadab (the irreverent priests). Ah, THEN, the fear of YHVH will speedily return to the church. In that day, there will be want for those claiming to be pastors, or prophets to deceive. Glorious day indeed.

Leave a Reply

The Roys Report seeks to foster thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Toward that end, the site requires that people register before they begin commenting. This means no anonymous comments will be allowed. Also, any comments with profanity, name-calling, and/or a nasty tone will be deleted.
 
MOST RECENT Articles
MOST popular articles
en_USEnglish