A local pastor has confessed to committing disturbing behavior with young men and boys.
Brad Waller, then senior pastor of Grace Church of the Islands, admitted to abusing his authority with his apparent foot fetish.
The bizarre nature of how he conducted the abuse has shaken the faith of some parishioners.
News 3 learned this all started back in February, when a former SCAD student who had moved out of the area, reached out to his former minister, Michael Gordon.
The man, who was once counseled by Waller at Independent Presbyterian Church, detailed his “uncomfortable” experience with Waller.
As Waller himself admitted later in his statement to the Presbytery, the larger church body of church elders and ministers, “I have been rubbing the feet of men and youth in my care.”
Even more surprising Waller said, “There was a sexual element to this, however, physically it never went past foot rubbing.”
Pastor Terry Johnson of Independent Presbyterian Church, where Waller worked as an Associate Minister from 2007-2013, told News 3 there was “not a hint of this” and they “didn’t have an inkling” while Waller worked there.
Johnson says since this came out, there has been a spectrum of responses to this case, including embarrassment and disillusionment.
For some people, Johnson says it has “shaken their faith.”
Parishioners from both churches were told about Waller’s admission and allegations soon after his removal from the pulpit.
Two other churches, including Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky where Waller was an associate Minister from 1996-2005 and Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, have also been notified and are reaching out to their congregations.
Statement from Tate’s Creek Presbyterian Church about Waller:
After the investigation by the Presbytery and Waller’s own admission, he was removed from his Senior Pastor role at Grace Church and removed entirely from the Presbyterian ministry.
At the urging of Independent Presbyterian Church’s Pastor, Grace Church of the Islands filed a police report with Chatham County Police in mid-April.
It details three victims of Waller’s touching, including Charlie Turner, an Associate Pastor at Grace Church, and Turner’s own 12-year-old son.
Two of those victims said they felt “sexually assaulted” by Waller’s massages.
Chatham County Police would not comment on the report or any ongoing investigation into this situation.
Statement from the Session at Grace Church of the Islands:
Grace Church of the Islands placed Brad Waller, then the church’s Senior Pastor, on leave when the governing Session learned of his inappropriate conduct. As Waller ultimately admitted, he abused his role as a Pastor, rubbing the feet of men and male youth in his care. The Session asked for Waller’s resignation. Waller is no longer the Pastor of Grace Church of the Islands, and he is no longer a minister in our denomination. Our congregation has been grieving. We have experienced shock, denial, pain, guilt and anger.
In Christian hope, our goal now is to heal our church. We want to better understand what happened, who was harmed, and how we can help.