Error of Man: Gay couple accused of raping adopted children
Gay Connecticut couple accused of raping adopted children will face trial George Harasz, 49, and Douglas Wirth, 45, of Glastonbury, withdrew a deal with prosecutors that would have given them suspended prison sentences and probation, according to reports. The surprise move comes as new allegations by three more adopted children surfaced Friday.By Erik Ortiz / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The case of a same-sex Connecticut couple accused of repeatedly raping and abusing two of their nine adopted boys is headed for trial. Married couple George Harasz and Douglas Wirth of Glastonbury were supposed to be sentenced Friday in Hartford Superior Court under a plea deal, but instead withdrew from their agreement with prosecutors. The men had already pleaded no contest in January to one felony count each of risk of injury to a minor — a reduction from even more serious charges related to sexual assault. But in a surprise turn, the couple’s attorneys pulled them out of the plea in a bid to fully clear their names, according to CBS affiliate WFSB-TV. If Harasz, 49, and Wirth, 45, had continued with the deal, they would have been given suspended prison sentences and probation, WFSB-TV said. But more allegations came to light Friday in the explosive case, and prosecutors said they also want to go to trial. “I think the only proper resolution of this matter is to try it,” said prosecutor David Zagaja, according to the Hartford Courant.
Judge Joan Alexander agreed that a trial would be “in the interest of justice. The facts must be shown and must be shown publicly.” Harasz and Wirth adopted nine children — three sets of male siblings — beginning in 2000, and ran a home-based dog breeding business called The Puppy Guy.
The couple was arrested in November 2011 following a police and state investigation of sex-abuse allegations. The children were removed from the home. Police said two boys, ages 5 and 15, accused Harasz of sexually assaulting them. Harasz was initially facing first-degree sexual assault and other charges, while Wirth had been charged with third-degree sexual assault of the 15-year-old boy. Their arrest warrants claimed the couple not only sexually and physically abused the children, but also forced them to sleep in closets. Other children in the home told authorities that they weren’t abused, and prosecutors had agreed to a plea deal because they said a lack of forensic evidence would make it difficult to prove all of the allegation.
But now, three other children are claiming they were also abused, although no new criminal charges had been filed Friday, the Hartford Courant reported. One of the victims who spoke during the court hearing said sexual assault began when he was 6. “They took turns raping me over and over,” he said. “Anyone who would do this to a child is a sick, demented person.” Supporters of Harasz and Wirth also spoke Friday in defense of the couple. One of their children, Carlos Harasz, said the accusers were lying and that the abuse suffered was under previous foster parents.
Carlos Harasz added that the state Department of Children and Families “took the word of an angry, damaged, disturbed boy and destroyed a family.” Police have been ordered to investigate the latest accusations, and the parties are set to appear in court again June 5
April 4, 2013 by
RASHAD BURGESS AND THE BISHOP OLIVER CLYDE ALLEN III ARE LOVING THE LORD AND THEIR OWN LOVING UNION
Oliver, from Los Angeles, met Rashad at a conference in 1999. While he was initially struck by Rashad’s beauty, they didn’t become a couple until 2002. Rashad came out to his family between the ages of 18 and 21; he was six years into his liberation when he met his mate. Through his relationship with Rashad, Oliver came out to his own family. Oliver’s family wasn’t immediately accepting.
“My family is close,” Oliver says. “My mother initially didn’t know how to embrace it. After getting to know Rashad, and seeing that he was a responsible man who not only loved me but was willing to take care of me and build a life with me, she developed respect for him.”
In 2002, the two married on the shores of Hilton Head, South Carolina. “Completely private,” Oliver reminisces. “We went out to the beach around five a.m. wearing all white. We had a wooden chest with a Bible in it. We had music playing. We lit two torches on the beach and read our vows to each other. We also took communion together.”
For their seventh anniversary, they decided to get legally married in one of the few places in the United States that allows that freedom to same-sex couples: Washington, D.C. Rashad figured they would just sign some papers and it would be done. “It wasn’t that simple. It turns out, you have to have a real wedding in D.C., with a pastor licensed in D.C., so we ended having up having a ceremony with some of our closest friends. It was unexpected; it was great.”
Oliver says Rashad balances him out in many ways. “Number one, he’s smarter than me!” says the man who studied philosophy at Morgan State and religion at Morehouse College, currently taking courses at Harvard. “Rashad is very organized and systematic in his approach to life. I could not imagine my life without him, especially as it relates to the business of marriage. When it comes to building a family, having resources and goals, he’s the one who makes sure we have the life we desire.”
The Burgess-Allens live in Atlanta. Rashad attended the University of Chicago (where he’s from). A bachelor’s degree in public policy and a master’s in social science, Rashad is branch chief at the Center for Disease Control—and he’s the First Gentleman of the Vision Church where his husband is pastor.
Rashad makes it clear: “My primary role is taking care of our home. I want to make sure that we have a happy home and the bishop is taken care of. Seeing that there’s food, the finances are in order, etc. But also making sure I create an atmosphere that he wants to come home to. Sometimes in marriage, people don’t always think about that.” In terms of the church, among many responsibilities, Rashad handles media relations. “We get approached many times for various media events and interviews. I am thoughtful about those choices, so that the integrity of the church, the ministry and Oliver are protected.”
“I’ve always had an affinity for religion from a philosophical perspective. Not necessarily Christianity as much as understanding how people organize their thoughts around rituals and ideas about God.” Oliver continues, “I’ve always been groomed to pastor, but of course my sexuality was always a personal question of mine—even when I reconciled my theology and I was very clear that God loved me and I wasn’t going to Hell.”
“It’s not a matter of tradition but how we interpret the Bible. I knew that God loved me… but being an openly gay man, what does that look like in terms of ministry? I had never seen an openly gay man with a thriving ministry.” Oliver’s passion grew: “so many people who didn’t believe in the rhetoric of the Black church needed a place to worship and feel safe,” he says.
While he didn’t have an example, Rashad was very supportive. Oliver recalls, “He said, ‘You just need to start. How it will turn out, we don’t know. Just do it.’ ”
Operating on faith, Oliver shared his vision with 12 people whom he and his partner trusted and believed could help. That small congregation swiftly grew to over 3,500. Like any church, “they don’t always show up at the same time,” Oliver notes, “but we have at least 600 who come to worship every Sunday.”
“The psychology of women has helped me be a better pastor,” he continues. “I pastor an extremely diverse church. Not just ethnically, but in terms of sexuality. I have straight women, lesbians, senior women, transgender women, Hispanic women, White women and Black women, of course. Every expression.” Ever the scholar, his third-semester Harvard course load included women’s sexuality, the psychology of women and the history of women. “It was not only fascinating, but I understood patriarchy better,” he says.
As a pastor and, notably, bishop, Oliver says, “I am responsible for a lot of people and their spirituality.” Aware of the weight and honor of his sacred contracts, he didn’t take what he didn’t know for granted. Neither arrogance nor ignorance shall taint Bishop Oliver’s pulpit or his congregation’s integrity.
“Pastors make the assumption that they understand all of the dynamics of people, and they don’t,” he says. “I felt like I’d be a better pastor if I studied the complexities of gender. I learned that even though I experience oppression, if you will, because of my sexual orientation, I’m still an oppressor due to the history of my gender and gender politics. I understood how women embrace oppression to exist in certain structures.” Such as the church, filled with women and run by men.
Oliver created The Mother’s Board “because it is in our tradition to have mothers present,” he says. He knew he needed “mothers” whether they had children or not, to play a significant role in the Vision Church. “There are LGBT members who have no relationship with their parents, who have no family; severely rejected by not only society but their maternal structure. The Mother’s Board, predominately straight women, has become a psychologically enriching entity.”
On the question of how his pastoral peers, who may not live as genuinely, perceive the progressive church, he reflects, “That’s where all the flack comes from. I get very little criticism from truly heterosexual pastors or leaders. I make that as an assumptive statement,” Oliver notes. “But most of them are extremely supportive of the work we do, committed to a loving Gospel, and provide a safe place for whoever comes in the room to worship. We are a challenge for people who don’t live their truth.”
Compassionately, he continues. “You know, honestly… I’m not defending them, but think about it. You’ve been a minister for 30 years, you’re married but you’ve lived in the closet… Then here comes this pastor who is openly gay, married to his partner, in the public eye, being who they are and built a ministry? It can create resentment. Most of the criticisms are from people struggling personally, or openly gay people who have been oppressed by Christianity. Here we are embracing it.” He says, “To be truly Christian is to be truly inclusive. If you are Christian and you are exclusive, then you’ve missed the point.”
Rashad and Oliver always planned on including a child to their equation. When an opportunity for adoption arose through a social worker at their church, they took the necessary steps. Confirmed by two ultrasounds, they were expecting a son. “The entire conversation was about a boy,” Rashad recalls. “The baby shower, we received boy’s gifts and we only had boy names picked out.” Surely, having a boy was a no-brainer. They had been boys once.
Oliver and Rashad were at the hospital when their child was born. “The doctor came out and said, ‘You have a beautiful healthy baby! Just one little detail: it’s a girl.’ We were shocked!”
However, when they laid eyes on their daughter, shock immediately transformed to rapture. “We felt like she was divinely sent. She even had some of our features, so much so [that] in the hospital, the biological mother’s mother pointed it out,” Rashad says. “It was a very spiritual moment. We knew she was intentionally brought here for us. She’s so precious, so beautiful.”
Oliver says, “I don’t think there’s any greater thing that a human being can do than pour into another human being and raise a child. There is no other thing that is greater than that. It fulfills your life. I believe that is what humans are designed to do.”
“I grew up in a home with a single mom for the first eight years of my life,” says Rashad. “Then she got married for the first time.” He observed what his stepfather did right. Through that lens, “I knew that I wanted a strong, solid marriage.” Rashad believes that his union completes that vision. “I have never seen a man that can nurture and love the way Oliver does. It’s truly infectious. And consistent.” Rashad goes on, “In our most challenging moments, in all these years, I never got that sense of, ‘This man doesn’t love me.’ ”
Oliver feels that a successful family operates by cultivating unconditional love, consistency and a strong sense of spirituality. “Unconditional love is complicated. I don’t think it’s an easy thing. Sometimes love means having difficult conversations, but relationships that build nurturing and restoration are the strongest.” He adds, “Consistency—having a ritual or tradition, or something special that your family does—weaves a fabric that keeps people together and creates a strong family bond.”
Caylee is in Rashad’s arms yapping it up. “I’m sorry, the little one is in talkative mood. She has never been this talkative!” Since it’s obvious Caylee is aware this is a family discussion, what would they want a teenage Caylee to say about her two dads? Rashad responds. “I would want her to say, ‘My fathers are extremely loving, socially conscious people who love the Lord and each other.’ ”
Comments to Article
Mrs. Brown Says:This is so disturbing and sad. I am REALLY upset with Jet and Ebony!! At a time when black families are broken and single parent households are the norm, they take gay couples and set them up as the standard??? I feel so sorry for that child. I pray that as she grows older that her eyes will not be blinded to the truth and she will receive true salvation, and maybe even minister deliverance to her “parents” (it doesn’t even feel right calling them that). Lord help her!!
April 5, 2013 at 9:39 AM
April 5, 2013 at 9:39 AM
Jaslynn Says:Oh my goodness, how disgusting. I cannot believe they think that they’re not going to hell because of what they’re doing. And what are they doing besides being gay? They are leading all their church members to hell. This is sad. Poor little girl, she needs a mother, not two dads. I don’t care how gay they are, kids need a mother!! Jesus is coming sooner than we think! We all need to repent!
April 5, 2013 at 10:12 AM
April 5, 2013 at 10:12 AM
what craziness is this? I don’t hate homosexual but i hate their lifestyle. I have seen brothers and sisters who were caught up in this sinful lifestyle but have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. One brother is even married to a woman. This 2 men don’t have a right to be pastoring any church. This is blaspheme to its last degree. How do you even sleep at night? This men are leading the people of God astray. The whole church they bishop in is perversion. I don’t care how many souls they think they are winning to Christ but you cannot receive Christ and still remain the same again.
Before Christ went away he told the disciples in the book of John that he have to go but he will ask the father to bring the counselor, advocate, Spirit of truth also known as the Holy spirit to us. Indeed the Holy Spirit is the one who will teach us the truth without fail. Now i ask them this, if they are born again and born of the Spirit why isn’t the Spirit of truth in them? When i sin i get an immediate conviction from the Holy Spirit which lead to immediate repentance. Don’t they even feel ashamed? I am utterly disturbed by the blasphemous things they teach their church members. I don’t know what philosophy and theology the “bishop” have studied and i don’t know what bible he is reading from because it isn’t from the word of God which is the living truth. I pray for those souls that they get saved and turn from their wicked ways in Jesus name
Min. Robert 'Son of Thunder' Murrell aka sharperthananytwoegdedsword Says:I speak from an African American man’s perspective and as a saved called preacher of the gospel. A gay false prophet and his ‘first man’ and a female child. I will try to keep it under control with going off like a rocket.If you look at the dynamics of the whole thing. You have a man pretending to be a preacher and another man assuming the role of a woman/mother. I guarantee their house stinks and is full of lavender(you’ll get that later). The African Amertican community at large is continuing to fail.
April 5, 2013 at 8:49 AM
April 5, 2013 at 8:49 AM
We have failed in preaching the Truth of God’s Word, discipleship, teaching men how to be men from a biblical standpoint and mentorship. We’re too busy collecting money for the building fund, conferences, step shows, praise dancing, shouting, and drama. It ought be so.This so called partnership who calls themselves saved. Paul addresses the issue of homosexaulity, sexual immorality, and lewdness repeatedly in the new testament. What has happened to our black men and men as a gender. We have treated our black male children as babies for so long and allowed them to be raised in a home where no real Christian men are present to guide and shape their identity.The devil has deceived many into believing that living a abominable lifestyle and an being saved can co-exist. Co-existing is dangeorus becuase you cannot mix wrong and right together.
Paul’ said it like this’ “What fellowship does light have with darkness?” The resounding answer is ‘none’. These two malefactors do not realize the eternal damnation that awaits them if they do not repent and believe the true Gospel. Since when is this union applaudable.
There was a time when African American community derided homosexuality and knew with a shadow of a doubt that it was sinful. Now, this new generation of African Americans celebrate everything. This is direct result of the failure that we continue to propogate with our many issues that we fail to address within the church because of fear of going jail for supposed hate speech. Well if they send me to jail for haiting sin, then send me I am ready. We need to learn to hate sin as God hates sin. We need to ask the Lord for forgiveness, repent and do what he says to do. The African American is crisis and we are asleep, may the Lord wake us up.