Crossway pastor appeals removal

Pastor Mark Gregori has filed an appeal with the New York District Office of the Assemblies of God, stating that he is innocent of any alleged wrongdoing. He contends the charge of inappropriate behavior by three female members of his congregation is false..

Gregori was senior pastor of the Crossway Christian Center, at 2730 Bruckner Boulevard, from 1977 until last year. An Assemblies of God minister since 1976, Gregori was ousted from his pulpit on December 11, 2009 after a hearing before the New York district superintendent and executive presbyters of the Assemblies of God. Citing a transcript of his interrogation, Gregori stated in a lengthy appeal that by allowing him only ‘yes’ and’ no’ answers at the hearing to charges leveled against him, this “unfairly put him in the position of having to answer ‘no ‘to questions that he might have otherwise answered ‘yes,’ had he been able to explain the context of his answer.”

According to the transcript cited in Gregori’s appeal, he refuted all charges made against him. The appeal states he was accused of making unwelcome remarks of a sexual nature to three women at different points over a 10-year period. He stated that if he were guilty, he would have accepted whatever punishment was his due.

“The only human being who truly knows the intention of Pastor Gregori is Pastor Gregori himself,” the preamble to his appeal reads. “Indeed, the pastor’s accusers may full well believe that the pastor had evil intentions, but their belief in the allegations does not establish the veracity of the allegations.”

Gregori’s appeal accuses the Assemblies of God of formulating questions in such a way that it was impossible for him to defend himself. In the appeal, he explains his answers to 31 questions asked of him during his hearing. He said that the Assemblies of God violated its own constitution in handling the case.

“The interrogation rules defined solely by the New York district superintendent and accepted by the district executive presbyters created an environment that was inquisitorial rather than one where there could be earnest, fair and balanced review of the facts,” Gregori stated in his appeal.

“This unfairly biased the executive presbyters against me and denied me the constitutional privilege to present an adequate and complete defense against each individual accusation.”

According to Gregori’s appeal, one of his accuser’s charges go back 10 years. Normally, according to Assemblies of God bylaws, a formal complaint must be filed in seven years, the appeal stated. He also states the Assemblies of God New York district superintendent sent out an e-mail that publicized the allegations prematurely.

“Via e-mail and under his personal signature, the superintendent prematurely publicized my alleged guilt to my colleagues through the Bronx Manhattan Lower Westchester section of New York State without first allowing me to exhaust the appeal process, granted me in our national bylaws.”

Assemblies of God Pastor Ray Barnett, stood by the pastor. “I have known Mark a long time,” Barnett said. “He has taken a lie detector test and passed it. Intuitively, I am inclined to thing that he is innocent.”

Assemblies of God New York district office has not commented on the appeal. There is currently pending litigation between Crossway Christian Center and the district office over a property dispute. That case is due back in court in July.

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