By Bob Allen
A Maryland jury has found 56-year-old Nathaniel Morales guilty of five counts of sex crimes he committed in the 1980s and early 1990s at a prominent Washington-area evangelical church. Leaders allegedly knew about abuse allegations but did not report them to police.
Morales, arrested last year while serving as a pastor in Las Vegas, was convicted in a four-day trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court of crimes committed when he was a member of Covenant Life Church, formerly the flagship congregation of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a Louisville, Ky.-based church-starting network with ties to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Morales is also named in a civil lawsuit dismissed on a technicality and currently on appeal alleging systemic covering up of sexual abuse by Sovereign Grace Ministries leaders including co-founder C.J. Mahaney, a close friend to Southern Baptist leaders including Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler.