Calvary Baptist Church in Gladewater (Source: KLTV Staff)
GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) -
A missionary worker, who was financially supported by East Texas churches, has been convicted on a child sex charge. According to law enforcement, the missionary, Daniel Johnson, was running an orphanage in Cambodia.
In Cambodia, Johnson was accused of sexually assaulting five Cambodian boys. Earlier in June, he was sentenced to a year in Cambodian prison. Johnson's arrest is troubling to some East Texas churches that have supported him and his ministry, Hope Transitions, for nearly a decade. Hope Transitions is an international ministry supported and organized in East Texas. In Cambodia, the ministry cares for orphans while telling them about Jesus.
In Gladewater, they collect the mission's funding.
"I've been over there, personally, twice. We've sent groups four times total and fell in love with the children and the ministry," explains Calvary Baptist Church Senior Pastor David McGee.
By supporting Johnson, the church says they were supporting the children who needed a place to stay and food to eat, but after Johnson was accused of child sex abuse, changes were necessary.
"It was disturbing, but it's the children that matter," says McGee.
He adds that the children are the ones who need help now more than ever. McGee says Johnson's arrest forced many kids back to their homelands and homelessness, but the church is hoping to rebuild the orphanage.
"We've had to just let go of the Daniel part, and he resigned and has completely let go of any part of Hope Transitions," explains McGee.
The church secretary and treasurer says the church approved a budget that provided $5,400 in support for Johnson through September. She says they sent him $450 last month and intend to write another check for the same amount in July. McGee says the orphanage accounts are still in Johnson's name, but the church is working to change that.
"We can't control what one person does, but we can make sure that we're still ministering where there's a need and it's all about the kids," he says.
Law enforcement officials say the FBI was also investigating Johnson on child sex assault charges in the United States. However, the FBI says they can neither confirm or deny that.
The international children's rights organization Action Pour les Enfants (APLE) in Cambodia was not immediately available for comment regarding Johnson's sentence due to time zone differences.
Monday, September 1 2014 2:00 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:00:48 GMT
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