, with little experience in crisis management, found its reputation eroding-a situation that only worsened after the bombshell announcement that Montgomery County
prosecutors had indicted a 55-year-old man named Nathaniel Morales
on child-sex-abuse charges in December of 2012.
Morales had been an active member of Covenant Life Church in the 1980s and early '90s, known for his beautiful singing voice and for his mentorship of the congregation's young men, leading Bible studies and taking them to movies and ball games.
But during that same period, he
sexually assaulted three teenage boys who had been part of the church.
According to evidence revealed at his
criminal trial, he
targeted boys who came for sleepovers at a CLC family's home, where he
lived in the basement.
Morales's patterns were as stealthy as they were insidious: He
would approach his
victims at night, and they'd awake to find him fondling or orally raping them.
One man said that Morales
goaded him with guilt: Morales
claimed that if his
advances were resisted, he
would have to seek out prostitutes and men in bathrooms and could get AIDS.
always convinced her
was telling him to move on, but now she
was running away from other alleged victims.
"I blame the church for covering everything up," she
"I wish they would have reported it to the authorities sooner."
In the end, Morales
was turned in only because one of his
victims, as is typical of many child-sex-abuse survivors, finally went to police after years of suffering in silence.
was found guilty and, more than two decades after his
crimes, was sentenced to 40 years in prison.