The pastor of an Alabama Baptist church has confessed that he knowingly exposed women congregants to HIV by having sex with them while ill with AIDS.
Montgomery’s WSFA Channel 12 reported that now ex-Pastor Juan Demetrius McFarland of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church made a series of revelations to the congregation in sermons that have left parishioners shaken, angry and confused.
McFarland has admitted to misuse of church funds, taking illicit drugs and seducing multiple women congregants, all the while knowing that he was suffering from full-blown AIDS.
On Sep. 14, McFarland preached a sermon in which he said the Lord had instructed him to reveal that he contracted HIV in 2003, which developed to full-blown AIDS in 2008.
“The church was very accepting of Reverend McFarland and was willing to help him in any way possible,” said one church member who wished to remain anonymous.
Perhaps emboldened by his church’s loving support in the wake of the disclosure, McFarland went on in following weeks to reveal more and more about how he had failed the church, including misappropriation of church funds, periods of heavy drug use and sex acts with women in the congregation.
Deacon Nathan Williams Jr. said in a resolution drafted by church elders and read aloud in church that McFarland had crossed a line.
“He concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS,” said Williams.
The church removed McFarland as its pastor on Oct. 5, but many in the church are worried that there are still people who have been hurt by McFarland who are afraid to come forward for fear that they will be stigmatized.
“Who does this to people, and you are the leader? Who does this?” said one church member to WSFA.