Covid-19 Related

Below is an accounting of Covid-19 related crimes and scandals. It is early in the pandemic and many such crimes might take time to come to light.

When criminal charges cannot be filed, due to lack of evidence, or a myriad of other reasons, or other constraints, immoral behavior is protected from being named as crime. A kind of purgatory for crime, these incidents are labeled “scandal.” Sanctions levied can include dismissal, forced resignation, “defrocking” (withdrawal of ordination or licensing), excommunication, or other condescension.

In the case of Covid-19, scandals can include actions that could reasonably lead to negligent homicidal deaths by the actions or in-actions of their participants.

If you can trace your COVID-19 contacts to a church that defied the State’s stay-at-home order, you may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation against churches or their insurance companies for that congregation’s defying public health orders.

Entries on these pages can contain arrests, charges, or indictments, which may eventually be reduced, dropped, or expunged, and as such, these actors may in fact be innocent in a court of law.

Click on the link to read the report.


2020 – River at Tampa Bay Church, Tampa Bay, FL. Rodney Howard-Brown (pastor) was arrested on charges of “reckless disregard for human life” for continuing to hold Sunday services at the megachurch in defiance of the county-wide “safer-at-home” anti-coronavirus order. In addition to criminal charges, the church’s insurance coverage was allegedly canceled. Florida Megachurch Pastor Arrested After Violating Social Distancing Guidelines.

2020 – The Jim Bakker Show, Blue Eye, MO. Jim Bakker (televangelist) was sent a cease and desist letter from the New York Attorney General’s Office. The case involves allegedly peddling a fraudulent COVID-19 prevention product called “Vital Silver.” TV pastor is selling a fraudulent COVID-19 prevention product, federal agencies warn.

2020 – Life Tabernacle Church, Central, LA. Tony Spell (pastor) was issued several misdemeanor summons’ by police for allegedly defying state orders to suspend worship gatherings in excess of 50 persons. Their attendance engendered nearly 1,000 worshipers. Spell is being represented by defamed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore was publicly accused of sexual assault of a 14-year old female. Pastor again defies state order not to hold large gatherings. He says 1,000 people came to his church Sunday.

2020 – The Church of Christ, Hammond, IN. Police wrote tickets to the church and its leaders when they refused to disperse a church gathering of 30-40 people. Police ticket church leaders after they refuse to disperse Sunday service of more than 30 people.

2020 – Redeeming Love Church of God the Bibleway, Statesboro, GA. Four church members were cited for showing up in a church parking lot in violation of the state’s stay-at-home order. About 40 cars were observed in the parking lot. Georgia pastor, church members cited for not following shelter-in-place order.

2020 – Temple Baptist Church, Greenville, MS. Drivers attending a “drive-in prayer service” were ticketed for assembling in the parking lot of the church. Every one of the 25 cars were issued a $500 ticket. Watch Mississippi Cop Ticket Drivers in Church Parking Lot for ‘Shelter in Place’ Violation (Video).

2020 [April] – Life Tabernacle Church, Central, LA. Peter Spell (pastor) was arrested on allegations of aggravated assault and improper backing. Video shows “a white bus accelerating in reverse” toward an apparent protestor carrying a sign advocating to shut down the church due to their corona virus response. Pastor who defied coronavirus ban arrested on assault charge for nearly backing up bus into protester.

2020 – All Nations Church of God in Christ, Richmond, CA. Wyndford Williams (pastor) was issued a misdemeanor citation on Easter Sunday by the county county Sheriff for violation of the shelter-in-place order. Richmond pastor cited for violating COVID-19 health order.


2020 – Cross Culture Christian Center, Lodi, CA. Jon Duncan (pastor) has allegedly defied the San Joaquin County Public Health Services and the State of California that prohibits public gatherings during the Covid-19 Pandemic by continuing to conduct in-person worship services. The landlord (also a church) has since changed the locks to effectively lock the offending church out of the building. Police attempted to educate church members on one occasion, describing the order as a directive rather than a mandate. Lodi church refusing to comply with stay-at-home orders.

2020 – New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, Chesterfield, VA. Gerald O. Glenn (bishop) defied the state’s stay-at-home order by holding church each Sunday including Palm Sunday. He died of Covid-19 that next week. Several members of his family also reportedly have the virus. ““I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.” He added that he was not afraid of death.” Virginia Bishop Dies After Holding Service Amid Coronavirus Warnings. Now, Four of His Family Members Are Infected Too.

2020 – Calvary Church (megachurch), Naperville, IL. Angel Escamilla (pastor) died of coronavirus. He allegedly kept his infection a secret despite knowing that others in the church, including family members, staff, and volunteers were all showing signs of infection. Ill. megachurch pastor, grandfather of 10 dies of coronavirus.

2020 – Gretna, LA. Landon Spradlin (street evangelist) died of covid-19 on March 25. He criticized information about the coronavirus as “mass hysteria” on his Facebook account on March 14, while he was already aware he was sick with the virus. “In the comments, the pastor said he believes the coronavirus ‘is a real issue, but I believe the media is pumping out fear and doing more harm than good.’” He suggested Covid-19 was being used to harm the president. Pastor who criticized coronavirus ‘mass hysteria’ dies from illness.

2020 – St. Odisho Church, Chicago, IL.  Police broke up a large crowd gathering for a funeral. Attendees of this Assyrian church were observed drinking from the same cup during the service. No arrests were made, but the elderly crowd was made to disperse. Some churches defy government, others get shut down amid debate regarding ‘essential services’.

2020 – Colorado Springs Fellowship Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Rose Banks (pastor) is accused of defying the state health department order restricting public gatherings to 10 or fewer people. Colorado Springs church says it has Constitutional right to open, defying state health order.

2020 – Solid Rock Church (megachurch), Lebanon, OH. As of March 26th, the church remained open for in-person worship. “We are respectful of every individual’s right to choose either to come to our service or to watch online,” the church said in a statement posted on its website. “We do believe that it is important for our doors to remain open for whomever to come to worship and pray during this time of great challenge in our country.” The governor’s orders stop short of prohibiting worship services from continuing. Ohio Megachurch Keeps Holding Mass Gatherings, Even As Coronavirus Spreads.

2020 – The Altar Church, Coeur d’Alene, ID. Tim Remington (pastor/state lawmaker) allegedly defied a ‘stay-at-home’ order by conducting a worship service, but it was unclear how many people actually attended. Idaho lawmaker defies stay-at-home order with church service.

2020 – Copland Ministries, Kenneth Copland (televangelist) “claimed to ‘cure’ the virus last week [March 17] by asking viewers to touch their TV screen.” By March 29th, he declared the pandemic was over. Scamvangelist: God Told Me Christians Have “Overwhelmed” Coronavirus with Prayer.

2020 – Friendship Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD. Alvin Gwynn Sr. (pastor) was conducting a Sunday service in defiance of the governor’s order restricting gathering size. Police arrived and tried to gain entrance to shut it down, but their security detail would not allow police in. Security delayed police action until the service was finished. Baltimore pastor vows to continue services despite coronavirus-related restrictions and visit from police.

2020 – The Alex Jones Show, Austin, TX. Alex Jones (fundamentalist Christian radio host) was sent a cease and desist warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for attempting to sell toothpaste he is alleged to have claimed cures the corona virus. Alex Jones Is Peddling Toothpaste That He Falsely Says Kills Coronavirus. 

2020 – Bethany Slavic Missionary Church, near Rancho Codova, CA. At least 71 members, including a pastor, tested positive for COVID-19. They are accused by state health officials of “not been following state and county social-distancing directives and instead have been participating in church groups at members’ homes.” Sacramento County Says Church With 71 COVID-19 Cases Ignoring Stay-At-Home Order, Leaders Dispute Claim.

2020 – Godspeak Calvary Chapel, Newbury Park, CA. Rob McCoy (pastor) led walk-in communion following a broadcast service, in defiance of a statewide stay-at-home order. The pastor emphasized that social distancing was maintained throughout. The pastor has faced angry protestors and since resigned his position on the Thousand Oaks City Council due to the controversy. Coronavirus: Newbury Park church faces backlash for defying physical distancing orders amid outbreak.

2020 [Mar. 30] – First Open Bible Church, Rock Falls, IL. Les Funderberg (pastor) knowingly defied public health authorities by holding in-person services. After this report the pastor suspended in-person services. Rock Falls church defies Covid-19 warnings, continues holding in-person services.

2020 – Calvary Pentecostal Church, Jeanerette, LA. Wesley Jackson (pastor) was issued a cease-and-desist letter for allegedly violating the ban on large gatherings. Sheriff’s personnel estimated the church had 50 people in attendance when they served the letter on the pastor during a service. Cease and Desist Letter Issued to Jeanerette Church Pastor.

2020 – Maryville Baptist Church, Louisville, KY. Jack Roberts (preacher), according to several media outlets, held church service on Palm Sunday in violation of the Governor’s stay-at-home order. Kentucky churches defy virus orders, hold in-person services.

2020 – Our Savior Lutheran Church, Louisville, KY. Joshua Cook (pastor) led in-person services in defiance of stay-at-home orders. Allegedly congregants were seated in every other pew. Kentucky churches defy virus orders, hold in-person services.

2020 – Life Church, Glenview, IL. Anthony LoCascio (pastor) held a service for a guest speaker with 80 people in attendance at the Pentecostal church. Shortly afterward, 43 people with at least 10 Covid-positive cases. The suburban pastor decided to continue as usual because he wasn’t being forced by the state to suspend gatherings at the time. Their lead usher has since died from the virus. 43 sick, 10 positive COVID-19 cases after churchgoers attend service near Chicago.

2020 – St. James Lutheran Church, Northrop, MN. Nine members of the church tested positive for coronavirus out of 23 other community members who tested positive. Southern Minnesota county becomes unlikely coronavirus hotbed.

2020 – Palmer Grove Baptist Church, Burke County, GA. Several of the county’s eight coronavirus cases are linked to the church March 8-29th. Several COVID-19 cases tied to Burke County church.

2020 [Mar. 26] – Lee County, AL. Forty-seven confirmed cases in the county. “The last public setting for a sizable number of them was at church,” the hospital statement said. “Not at one church, or churches in one town, but at church in general.” And in spite of government restrictions on public gatherings, including churches, “—there are reports that some still met as recently as last Sunday.” Lee County coronavirus hotspot’s common factor? Church, hospital says.

2020 [Mar. 22] – Gethsemane Worship Center, Dougherty County, GA. Forty-seven cases, nearly all of which are linked to churches. “Officials believe the COVID-19 cases are linked to two large funerals, one at Gethsemane Worship Center and the other at New Direction Christian Church. Officials said there is also a possible connection to Martin Luther King Memorial Chapel.” With 6 deaths, 47 cases of COVID-19, South Georgia town ordered to shelter in place.

2020 [March 24] – First Assembly of God church, Greers Ferry, AR. Church members attended a children’s program prior to discontinuing in-person activities. Thirty-four members have coronavirus including two visiting preachers, one child visitor, and 31 church members. The church’s pastor and his wife are also covid-19 positive. ‘Take it very seriously’: Pastor at Arkansas church where 34 people came down with coronavirus sends a warning.

2020 – The Church at Liberty Square, Cartersville, Bartow County, AL. Jacob T. King (senior pastor) was notified by the Georgia Department of Public Health of cases who had attended March 1-8th gatherings should self-quarantine. “A church member counted at least 15 members testing positive or awaiting results.” One member has since died [March 19] and another [March 23]. The church planned to “sanitize” and reopen. Bartow church tied to coronavirus cases asks recent attendees to self-quarantine.

2020 – Kansas churches. Three of 11 known COVID-19 hotspots in Kansas had been linked to houses of worship in Wyandotte County. Previous to this, there was no public health restriction on church in-person gatherings. Now there is. The three hotspots included: “A ministers conference at Miracle Temple Church of God in Christ, a March 14 gala at Rising Star Baptist Church, and congregation members at Power Realm Church of God in Christ.” 1) Kelly had to limit worship services with COVID-19 cases coming from Kansas church events. 2) Kansas has 3 church-related COVID-19 clusters, state says amid scramble for supplies.

2020 – Star of Bethlehem, (near) Dawson Springs; Life Apostolic Church, Madisonville, KY. “Health officials say the gatherings [at two churches] initiated an outbreak of the coronavirus that has since infected more than 50 local residents and contributed to the deaths of four.” The church held a revival with a guest evangelist held March 12-16. They also allegedly held in-person services on March 15, though the governor requested a halt to religious services the day prior to the revival, March 11. The church has since retained legal counsel in an attempt to defend itself. Kentucky church responds to ‘unjust criticism’ about revival at center of COVID-19 outbreak.

2020 – Messiah Baptist Church, Denver, CO. In Colorado, the governor has amended the state’s stay-at-home order to allow in-person services under certain conditions. William Ingram (pastor) is keeping services open because they are cleaning and sanitizing between services. Some churches stay open despite being urged to go online.

2020 – Zion Baptist Church, Denver, CO. In Colorado, the governor has amended the state’s stay-at-home order to allow in-person services under certain conditions. Frank M. Davis (pastor) says, “Our Custodian is doing an outstanding job to keep this place as safe as possible, as we fight against this virus, sanitizing every pew, musical instrument, microphone, light switch, door knob, etc, and, again, there is plenty of hand sanitizer available.” It continues, “The Church will have Wednesday Night Praise and Prayer Service at its scheduled time.  Sunday School and Sunday Morning Worship Service will be held at their regular time. If you are uncomfortable in attending any of our Worship Services, please stay home.” Zion Baptist Church Covid-19 Response.

2020 – New Vision Community Church, Shreveport, LA. Ronnie Hampton (pastor) mocked response to the virus saying, “Caesar is mandating how we conduct ourselves using the pretext of this virus to be able to conduct our lives and run our lives for us.” He also indicated that “some people have even been saying that the coronavirus is a sign of the last days before urging Christians not to get caught up in the “paranoia” surrounding the virus.” He subsequently died. 3 pastors killed by coronavirus; one thought God allowed infection so he could ‘get a little rest’.

2020 [March 15] – King Jesus International Ministry, Kendall, FL. Guillermo Maldonado (pastor). “The pastor of a megachurch in South Florida warned his parishioners Sunday that fears of exposure to COVID-19 was a “demonic spirit,” and he encouraged his parishioners to show up to worship and not heed warnings from officials to avoid crowded spaces.” ‘Demonic spirit:’ Miami pastor rejects coronavirus warning.

If you can trace your COVID-19 contacts to a church that defied the State’s stay-at-home order, you may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation against churches or their insurance companies for that congregation’s defying public health orders.