FORT DODGE (IA)
The Roys Report [Chicago IL]
May 1, 2023
By Julie Roys
A former Baptist missionary has been found guilty of sexually abusing a 4-year-old family member, who tested positive for gonorrhea last April.
On Friday, a court in Webster County, Iowa, found 30-year-old Jordan Webb guilty of second-degree sexual abuse with persons under the age of 12, a Class B felony, according to the Messenger News. The court also convicted Webb of incest, a felony, and child endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor.
The jury deliberated about two hours before delivering their verdict, the Des Moines Register reported. Webb faces up to 32 years in prison at his sentencing on June 5.
Webb reportedly served from 2019—2022 as a missionary in St. Lucia with “Christ in the Caribbean.”
According to a now-deleted Facebook page, the “sending church” for “Christ in the Caribbean” was Harvest Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Harvest also runs a small Bible college from which both Webb and his wife graduated.
In March 2022, Webb became sick and was diagnosed the next month with gonorrhea, the Register reported. In interviews with the Webster County Attorney’s office, Webb reportedly admitted he’d been unfaithful to his wife several times during his marriage.
Days after Webb’s diagnosis, a culture test confirmed that the 4-year-old family member also had gonorrhea, the Register stated. The child’s identity is being withheld to protect her privacy.
Webb’s attorney reportedly argued that the girl could have contracted gonorrhea from nonsexual contact, like a bath or swimming.
However, during the trial, Dr. Regina Torson, an expert in child abuse pediatrics, testified that gonorrhea is spread through body fluids, not air droplets, the Register reported. When asked if she’d ever seen a case where gonorrhea had not been sexually transmitted, Torson reportedly said, “Not that I’m aware of, no.”
Court records obtained by the Register show that Harvest Baptist Church provided money for Webb’s legal defense. The records also reportedly show that Harvest’s pastor, Marvin Smith IV, wrote a letter, advocating for Webb’s release before trial.
Harvest previously made headlines for allegedly allowing a convicted sex offender to attend church services and even participate in volunteer activities.
In 2020, Your Fort Dodge reported that Cameron Shane Giovanelli, a former pastor of an IFB church in Maryland who’d been convicted of a 4th degree sexual offense and 2nd degree assault, was living in Fort Dodge and attending Harvest.
The media outlet said it possessed photos “that plainly show Giovanelli engaged in activities with Harvest, that include singing in their choir.”
The Roys Report reached out to Harvest Baptist Church for comment but did not immediately hear back from the church.
A podcast called, “Preacher Boys,” which aired last October, included a clip of Pastor Smith urging congregants unconditionally to “have mercy” on one another.
“From my heart to you, as a pastor, no matter what you do, I will have mercy on you,” Smith said. “And I expect you to always have mercy on one another.”
According to the Messenger News, Webb is not eligible for bond while awaiting sentencing since sexual abuse and incest are considered “forcible felonies.” Prior to trial, Webb had been free on a $75,000 bond.