Update: Alleged child sex abuser Carroll Wynne resigns from Tenth Presbyterian

Carroll Wynne

TLD: Tenth does not appear to be fulfilling its legal obligation as a mandated reporter of child sexual abuse. Thus, we urge parents not to place their children at risk by bringing them to Tenth Presbyterian, PCA, in Philadelphia.

Churches should be places of refuge and sanctuaries where people can go to be safe, grow in their faith, and love God and each other. But over the past few years, we’ve seen that Tenth Presbyterian in Philadelphia has become toxic, dangerous, and abusive. So, the recent news that Tenth Presbyterian associate pastor Carroll Wynne has resigned, seemingly one step ahead of a church court, gives us a glimmer of hope that the church will clean up its act.

Who is Carroll Wynne?

Caroll Wynne first hit our radar when we published a copy of the GRACE independent report into abuse at Tenth Presbyterian.

Per the GRACE report:

Carroll Wynne (“Wynne”) began attending Tenth in the 1980’s and served in the role of youth director from 1998 until 2009. In 2009, Wynne attained his current position as the Minister of Pastoral Care. Wynne has also served as an elder for Tenth throughout his tenure. As the Minister of Pastoral Care, Wynne’s responsibilities include shut-in and hospital visits, counseling intake, premarital counseling, and new membership courses.

Wynne initially served as liaison between GRACE and Tenth at the outset of the investigation. Upon receiving allegations against Wynne of sexual misconduct against a minor via survey response in August 2022, GRACE requested a new liaison be appointed.

GRACE received confirmation from Tenth leadership that the allegations against Wynne be investigated, and investigated the same as part of this independent investigation.

The allegations

The GRACE report identifies a slew of ugly allegations against Carroll Wynne, including:

  • Sexual abuse of minors.
  • Keeping pornography on church computers.
  • Inappropriate and sexualized comments.
  • Failing to report the distribution of child pornography among church members.
  • Assault and battery.
  • Spiritual and relational abuse.

One particularly troubling incident cited in the GRACE report was Carroll Wynne’s effort to run interference for convicted pedophile and Tenth member George Garner. In his letter, visible on page 21 of the GRACE report, Carroll Wynne told the court:

During the last three years I have known Bruce Garner as one of his pastors and fellow elder at our church. As he was taking up duties as a leader, we would meet from time to time to share about specific concerns in our fellowship and how we may pray, alleviate financial stresses, and be present with them in their spiritual struggles. Bruce has a compassionate heart and is knowledgeable of the Bible. It is why this contradiction in his behavior is so difficult to understand.

Due to his age and weakened health, I would plead for mercy from the court in his sentencing. His shame and guilt weigh heavily upon him and his family, who have stood beside him as do we as church fellowship.

Yet the GRACE report reveals that Carroll Wynne scarcely knew Garner.

To be clear, there is zero reason to run interference for Garner. His behavior is evil and loathsome, and by pleading for leniency, Carroll Wynne undercuts the witnesses who came forward and injects cheap grace into a situation calling for accountability. Indeed, if Carroll Wynne wanted to wade in, the appropriate argument was for an enhanced sentence in light of Garner’s abuse of trust.

Even worse, Tenth, at least at the time of the GRACE report, was attempting to rehabilitate Garner, with an apparent goal of allowing him to return to the church once his incarceration is over. And Garner has permission to worship at another area PCA church, thus putting youth at that church at heightened risk of abuse.

PCA, what on this green earth are you thinking? Have you lost your minds?

Carroll Wynne’s resignation letter

In the middle of this vile crock of goo, we see Carroll Wynne’s resignation letter, which he sent to the church and Philadelphia Presbytery last month. The letter was distributed to church members recently.

But the resignation letter raises more questions than it answers. These questions include:

  • Why does it not reference the sordid findings of the GRACE investigative report?
  • Do we really need a PCA investigative committee to reinvent the wheel? We thought the whole idea of an independent investigation was just that–to obtain an independent, professional report. Yes, we get the Book of Church Order (BCO) requirements, but surely the results of a professional investigation can be incorporated into BCO-required processes and procedures.
  • Why is Carroll Wynne still around? The findings of child sexual abuse in the GRACE report warranted that he be immediately banned from church property and referred to law enforcement. And don’t anyone dare invoke the BCO on this issue — Tenth couldn’t have cared less what the BCO said when Goligher and his adulterous buddy Susan Elzey committed perjury and went after Phil Snyder. Moreover, nothing removes the ethical and legal imperative to prevent and report child abuse. Clergy and church officials are mandated reporters in Pennsylvania, and there is no time limit on sexual abuse, which is broadly defined under state law. And just in case Session can’t figure it out, residents may meet their mandated reporting requirements by visiting www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis or by calling 1-800-932-0313. And yes, failure to report is a criminal offense.

In other words, if Tenth Presbyterian has not reported Carroll Wynne’s alleged sexual abuse of minors, it and every member with knowledge of this matter is a criminal.

What is Carroll Wynne trying to accomplish?

Then we come to the granddaddy of questions: What is Wynne Carroll trying to accomplish?

Our hunch is he’s trying to evade PCA discipline by pulling up stakes.

To be clear, contrary to the claims in his letter, nothing about Wynne Carroll’s resignation honors God or the church.

Wynne Carroll’s departure is a marginal improvement, but the situation is akin to a bank robber saying, “I’m now honoring the bank by leaving.”

Uh, no.

Relatedly, we find the opening line of Wynne Carroll’s letter inherently suspect:

Through the testimony of witnesses and the work or the Presbytery Investigation Committee previously hidden sins have been uncovered in my life over the duration of my ministry at Tenth Presbyterian Church.

Um, why is he hiding sins? Has he ever heard of confession and repentance?

Our take on it is that Carroll Wynne is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who’s now trying to say, “Well, I am a sheep. See, I even have wool like a sheep.”

By their fruits you shall know them.

The bottom line

The bottom line is the bottom line in this sordid mess. Even as we see incremental signs of ethically appropriate conduct, we see George McFarland and the rest of the corrupt Tenth Session ducking and weaving and trying to avoid the real issues. These issues include:

  • The need to address corruption at the top, including Liam Goligher and George McFarland. Obviously, we are not fans of Carroll Wynne. But it’s the very definition of corruption to oust mid-tier church officials engaged in misconduct, while circling the wagons to protect Liam Goligher, George McFarland, and the other so-called leaders who set bad examples for others.
  • The need to address major corporate sin on the part of the church. Specifically, until we see the church admit its evil conduct, including perjury, towards Phil Snyder, and make restitution, Tenth remains morally bankrupt.
  • The need to immediately report child abuse of any sort to law enforcement. Not a week later, not a month later, not after an internal investigation. We expect Tenth to comply with Pennsylvania’s mandatory child abuse reporting laws–and again, there is no time limit on sexual abuse.
  • The need to immediately protect victims of abuse by removing access of alleged abusers to children and the Body of Christ. Again, we don’t give a red rat’s rear end what the BCO says on this issue–it just needs to happen.
  • The need to remove those complicit in abuse. As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
  • While we’re on the topic, all staff, clergy, and members of session need to undergo background checks. Huge tax liens? Possession of drug paraphernalia? These may not be automatically disqualifying, but there is a pressing need for accountability and transparency.

In other words, corruption at Tenth has gone on far too long. It is time to clean house, remove corrupt persons, repent, and make restitution. Part of that is reporting abuse to law enforcement.

Until these things happen, Tenth is NOT “Exalting His Name, Proclaiming His Word,” as falsely claimed on its website. And we urge parents NOT to bring their children to a church that covers-up child sexual abuse and refuses to fulfill its legal obligations as a mandated reporter.

28 comments

  1. Well said.

    Have you seen Dee’s new post?

    https://thewartburgwatch.com/2024/05/20/parents-do-you-think-your-children-are-safe-in-sbc-churches-have-you-seen-the-new-data/

    “The vast majority of sexual assaults are never criminally prosecuted, which means an ordinary background check will be unlikely to uncover a record of them. So, even if you’re in one of those 58% of SBC churches that claim to do background checks, you’ve little reason to feel safe. Without an institutional mechanism for record-keeping and information-sharing on credible accusations, most clergy sex abusers will be able to slip through the cracks and move on to find new prey.”

  2. The BCO has a loophole for abusers. If they “confess” prior to being investigated they are exempt from discipline. E.g. Scott Sauls, the Proclamation session, etc. It’s very sinister.

      1. Sorry, I misspoke — Wynne has already been investigated, but now that he has “confessed” (however incomplete or euphemistic the confession may be) I expect that presbytery action will end here. As it did with Dan Herron and Scott Sauls, the offender’s confession stands as the official narrative. The victims are not given an opportunity to correct it or speak their version publicly while all is tied up in “executive session”.
        There will likely be no formal suspension, no stripping of credentials, and most importantly, the full record of his misdeeds will be buried in the name of cheap grace, because after all he “confessed.” All the while Tenth and other churches like them continue to openly market to families with young children.

          1. This is just my prediction, based on the denominational track record. I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong. God, let me be wrong.

            1. I believe the Presbytery is now taking action against Carroll Wynne – they are pursuing judicial process.

              1. In the meantime, Proclamation and other churches in the area should ban him from their property. Nothing supersedes the importance of keepign children safe, and this is a prudent precaution.

  3. The Presbytery committee reportedly did not have access to the transcripts that were the basis for the GRACE report, nor did they know the identities of most of those who testified to GRACE. It seems the info in the reports was basically anonymous and second-hand, which was not enough to take action. Hence the investigation that ensued, seeking victim and witness testimony.

    1. If the victims have left the PCA and/or are no longer believers, they are “ineligible” to testify in the church court. The system is at best flawed. At worst, it is oppressive and evil.

      1. Hey I just realized this rule has been changed. The witnesses need to believe in heaven and hell but they don’t need to be a professing Christian. (Still a barrier for victims to come forward.)

        1. Wait, there are professing Christians who don’t believe in hell… so where does that leave them?

          Can you post a related quote from the BCO?

          1. Here is the current language from the BCO:

            All persons of proper age and intelligence are competent witnesses, except such as do not believe in the existence of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments. Either party has the right to challenge a witness whom he believes to be incompetent, and the court shall examine and decide upon his competency.

            1. So if a person was assaulted as a child and turned from belief in God, their ability to stand against the perpetrator can be challenged and they could be considered incompetent?!

  4. Thanks A. 💛
    This makes sense to me. And to my mind it illustrates how and why investigations by GRACE can fall short of delivering true justice. (Hence I never endorse of recommend GRACE. I think GRACE was set up to give abused Christians the impression that “something is being done to mitigate the endemic abuse in churches”.)

    The bottom line is that the leaders at Tenth are guilty before God of failing to lead the congregants in a way that would encourage and inspire mauled sheep to come forward and report (not anonymously) the abuses they have suffered.

    1 Cor 5:11 lists six heinous sins for which a professing Christian should be IMMEDIATELY put out of the church. The BCO fails to address that verse properly. I will keep reiterating this point until I die, and probably churches will keep ignoring my voice. They’ve ignored me for decades and I see no evidence of them changing.

  5. Caroll Wynne has been atttending Proclamation Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, another church marred by abuse and cover up.

  6. Despite his resignation letter, Tenth’s website currently states that he “retired in 2024.”
    https://www.tenth.org/multi_author/carroll-wynne/

    An Internet Archive capture of the above page on 12/15/2023 stated the following:
    “Carroll is Minister of Pastoral Care and has ministered at Tenth for 35 years. He provides pastoral care and counseling to Tenth members and regular attenders.”

    The next capture on 5/26/2024 contains the following revised paragraph:
    “Since joining the staff in 1988, Carroll has served at Tenth in a number of capacities, culminating as Minister of Pastoral Care, providing pastoral care and counseling to Tenth members and regular attenders. He retired in 2024.”

    Do you know what causes a page to be captured on a particular date by the archive? Or any insight regarding who oversees updates to Tenth’s website?

    Wynne’s resignation letter was addressed to members of the church and to the presbytery. If I’m recalling the GRACE report correctly, the latter has previously cited the church’s session for violating the ninth commandment? One wonders if the current session is aware of this update and if the current presbytery will be following up on a description of Wynne’s departure that seems to brazenly contradict even the substance of his own resignation letter.

    1. That’s a great bit of detective work.

      The crawler for the Wayback Machine pretty much just rolls through at random, but it sure sounds like it caught the church trying to finagle its way out of things.

      Anyone know who’s responsible for content on the Tenth website?

      Finally, to Session and folks at Tenth, we say this: This is further proof you remain unrepentant, sneaky, and untrustworthy. Why you would think this is helpful or morally right in the face of allegations of child abuse absolutely escapes us.

    2. I guess someone changed it.

      “Carroll has served at Tenth in a number of capacities, culminating as Minister of Pastoral Care, from 1998 to 2024.”

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