A North Highlands church whose former choir teacher Kareem Abdul Mitchell, is accused of molesting minor church goers is facing controversy once again.
“I am very ashamed to be associated with the church. I have children,” Donnie Bryant said.
Bryant was the pastor at New Testament Baptist Church in North Highlands from 2012 to 2015, but has ties to the church dating back to the 1980s. He was in court Tuesday, testifying against a churchgoer who faces charges of making criminal threats and stalking.
The former pastor told FOX40 the man committed those crimes in front of hundreds of people at the church, and he feels the board of directors did little to stop it.
“He would come down the aisle in the middle of the sermon while I was preaching and do strange stuff, to intimidate, like he was gonna pull out a gun,” Bryant said.
Bryant was recently released from his role as a pastor at New Testament. He said the board of directors handed him a letter of resignation shortly after he placed Kareem Abdul Mitchell on administrative leave while cops were investigating him in regards to the molestation accusations.
“I don’t know if Kareem is guilty or not. I hurt for the children first if it’s true, and I say ‘if’ because that’s why we have a court system,” Bryant told FOX40.com “It was a shame before God, and our community, the day that anybody call an institution, they day that mother did, about her son.”
Bryant says he feels that churches all over the country are running into similar issues because they started putting business people into leadership roles instead of converted Christians who love the church.
“The church made a mistake, and any pastor hearing this should think about it. Churches started grabbing people who knew how to use a pen, a computer,” Bryant said.
FOX40 reached out to the board of directors at New Testament Baptist church for a comment. Board President Evelyn Frazier answered, but the call was quickly disconnected and never returned. Chairman of the Deacon Board Ray Harrington told FOX40, “I’m not interested in answering any questions about that.”