List of religious leaders convicted of crimes
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This is a list of religious leaders who have been convicted of serious crimes before, during or after their period as a religious leader.
- Tony Alamo - Headed a Santa Clarita commune. Convicted of tax evasion in 1994 and then resided in a halfway house in Texarkana. In 2009, he was convicted of ten federal counts of taking minors across state lines for sex, and sentenced to 150 years in federal prison.
- Shoko Asahara - Founder of Aum Shinrikyo sentenced to death by hanging under Japanese law for involvement in the 1995 Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.
- Wayne Bent (aka: Michael Travesser) - Founder of Lord Our Righteousness Church, sometimes called Strong City. Was convicted of one count of criminal sexual contact of a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in 2008. Was sentenced to 18 years with eight years suspended.
- Graham Capill - former leader of Christian Heritage New Zealand. Sentenced to nine-year imprisonment term in 2005 after multiple charges of child sexual abuse against girls younger than twelve.
- Matthew F. Hale - Former leader of Creativity Movement sentenced to a 40-year prison term for soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill a federal judge.
- Warren Jeffs - Once President of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a polygamist Mormon sect), convicted of rape as an accomplice (overturned in 2010). Jeffs also awaits trial in other states and in the federal court system.
- Jung Myung Seok - South Korean religious sect leader and founder of Providence. Convicted for raping several of his followers.
- William Kamm - An Australian religious sect leader and self-styled Pope Peter II who was sentenced to prison in October 2005 for a string of sexual attacks on a 15-year-old girl. In August 2007 his sentence was increased after being found guilty for a series of sexual abuses against another teenage girl over a five-year period.
- Ervil LeBaron - Led a small sect of polygamous Mormon fundamentalists, and was convicted of involvement in the murder of two people and plotting to kill another person in 1981.
- Alice Lenshina - Zambian head and founder of the Lumpa Church. Conflicts with the government over the sect's rejection of taxes led to a violent confrontation and her subsequent imprisonment.
- Jeffrey Lundgren - Headed splinter group from Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, executed October 24, 2006, for multiple murders.
- Charles Manson - Leader of the Manson Family who is serving life for first degree murder.
- Shukri Mustafa - Egyptian leader of Takfir wal-Hijra who was captured and executed for the kidnap murder of an Egyptian ex-government minister.
- Fred Phelps - Leader of anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church. Convicted for disorderly conduct and battery.
- Swami Premananda of Tiruchirapalli - Indian religious leader convicted and sentenced to two life sentences for the rape of 13 girls and murder in 2005.
- Theodore Rinaldo - Leader of a religious group in Snohomish, Washington convicted of third-degree statutory rape for having sexual intercourse with one minor girl and of taking indecent liberties with another.
- Paul Schäfer - Former head of Chile-based Colonia Dignidad, was convicted of sexually abusing 25 children.
- Roch Thériault - Former head of "Ant Hill Kids commune" served a life sentence in Canada for the murder of Solange Boislard.
- Yahweh Ben Yahweh - Head of Nation of Yahweh, convicted for Federal racketeering charges and conspiracy involving 14 murders.
- Dwight York - Head of Nuwaubianism, convicted in 2004 of multiple RICO, child molestation, and financial reporting charges and sentenced to 135 years in prison.
- Jim Bakker - Created the PTL organization. Convicted of fraud and conspiracy charges after illegally soliciting millions of dollars from his followers.
- Hogen Fukunaga - Founder of Ho No Hana who was given a twelve-year jail sentence for fraudulently gaining 150 million yen from his followers.
- Kent Hovind (Dr. Dino) - founder of the Creation Science Evangelism ministry. Willful failure to collect, account for, and pay over Federal income taxes, knowingly structuring transactions in Federally-insured financial institutions to evade the reporting requirements, and obstructing and impeding the administration of the internal revenue laws.
- L. Ron Hubbard - Founder of Scientology. He was convicted of petty theft and ordered to pay a $25 fine in San Luis Obispo, California 1948 and in 1978 was convicted of illegal business practices, namely, making false claims about his ability to cure physical illnesses in France. He was sentenced to four years in prison, which was never served.
- Luc Jouret - A founder of the Order of the Solar Temple. He was convicted in Canadian Federal Court of conspiring to buy illegal handguns.
- Henry Lyons - Former President of National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Convicted for racketeering and grand theft.
- Barry Minkow - Head pastor of San Diego's Community Bible Church, and founder of the Fraud Discovery Institute, who had turned to religion and entered the ministry after release from prison for the notorious ZZZZ Best fraud, returned to prison in 2011 for further acts of securities fraud while serving as a clergyman.
- Sun Myung Moon - Leader of Unification Church, imprisoned for criminal tax fraud in the 1980s.
- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh – later called Osho. Fined $400,000 and given a 10-year suspended sentence following a plea bargain agreement in which he made an Alford plea to (1) a charge of having concealed his intent to remain permanently in the U.S. at the time he applied for his visa extension and (2) a charge of having conspired to have followers stay illegally in the country by having them enter into sham marriages. Deported from the United States.