Hey, you. Liberal. Yes you, with the Birkenstocks, pink-lens glasses and vegan cabbage rolls. Do you believe in hemp-tastic social programs like “equal opportunity?” Do you believe in “TOLERANCE,” as it says on your Prius’ multicultural bumper sticker? Do you like the idea of fundamentalist religious institutions adopting more secular humanist philosophies, and promoting humanist practices like tolerance, and equal opportunity? Committed to those ideas, are you? How committed, exactly? Wellll…let’s find out, shall we?
Tanya Cotton recognized a familiar face on her 10-year-old son’s cell phone video, taken at the completely harmless sounding “Children’s Crusade” event at Oklahoma City’s upscale “Highway of Holiness Church.” The face was that of one Dale Robin Heffert Jr, instantly recognizable because he was still in black and white following the sic years he’d just spent in prison.
She knew the face also because Dale was the former youth pastor at the church. In October of 2007, he was convicted of “forcible oral sodomy” on a minor, which is Oklahoma’s way of saying he forced a child to give him oral sex. He was released earlier this year as part of a suspended sentence deal. Pastor Dale lives about a 15-minute drive from the church now (and less than a mile from Borderline Elementary School).
Cotton reported the child molesting pastor’s presence at the childrens’ event to News 9 in OKC, and News 9 confronted the church’s Pastor John Steiger about it. According to Steiger:
“They sentenced him. He paid his debt to society. We’re a church that believes that God can change people…A church is a hospital for the soul. We help lost souls. We’ve done what a church is supposed to do: help a lost soul change their ways.“
A nice sentiment. Especially for a lost soul who less than seven years brutally raped a child.
But Steiger is no dummy…well aware of Pastor Dale’s past misdeeds, he made sure that the child molester was never left alone with any of the children. To keep him from raping them. Again. All of which is standard practice at any hospital. But Tanya Cotton didn’t find much solace in the notion:
“I was upset. I was sick to my stomach. You should send your kids to church and feel safe about it. His past is not good with children — do not be tempting him with our kids. I just don’t want to see any children hurt, again.”
Watch a local news report in the story below: