Witness Describes Alleged Sexual Abuse by Muncie Pastor

By Douglas Walker
Star Press
January 10, 2012

MUNCIE -- A prosecutor on Tuesday described Matthew A. Kidd as a manipulative predator who abused the trust that came with his status as pastor of a Muncie church to sexually assault three teenagers who belonged to his congregation.

Kidd's defense attorney, however, maintained that his client is the victim of a conspiracy with money at its root.

Delaware Circuit Court 3 jurors on Tuesday began hearing testimony in the trial of Kidd, 55, pastor of Freedom Point Apostolic Church.

The Delaware County man was charged three years ago this month with child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor and vicarious sexual gratification. The alleged victims are brothers, two of them now in their early 20s.

In her opening remarks, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Judi Calhoun described the criminal acts -- including fondling and spanking -- of which the pastor stands accused.

She suggested Kidd had taken advantage of a family made up of loyal members of his then-Pentecostal church.

The alleged victims and their several siblings were for the most part home-schooled, Calhoun said, by parents who sought "to shield their children, (or) at least try, from all the worldly influences."

The chief deputy prosecutor said the boys' mother wasn't alarmed when the man her family referred to as "Brother Kidd" asked to spend time with her sons because "her church meant everything to her."

Kidd's attorney, Steven Bruce, however, had a sharply different description of his client's accusers and their family.

Bruce said the family has "traded the truth for a pack of lies."

"They are invested in those lies, emotionally, financially and several other ways," the attorney added.

Bruce noted that the family had filed a lawsuit against his client -- and his church, and the national and state organizations of the United Penticostal Church, and Ontario Systems, where Kidd previously worked and some of the assaults are alleged to have taken place -- several months before the criminal charges were filed. (Ontario Systems has since been dropped from the lawsuit.)

The alleged victims' mother was Calhoun's first witness, and recalled she "thought it was a good thing" when Kidd "would want to spend time with my sons."

"I taught them they could trust their pastor," the at-times tearful witness said. "I taught them to show respect for the man of God."

Under questioning by Bruce, the mother acknowledged she and her husband were raising their more-than-a-half-dozen children on his annual earnings of $25,000 or less at the time of their association with Kidd's church.

The cost of home-schooling "adds up, doesn't it?" asked Bruce, who also noted the family needed money to send one of the alleged victims to a rehabilitation facility after he developed substance-abuse and other behavioral problems.

That alleged victim, now in his early 20s, was the first of the brothers to take the witness stand.

The young man described incidents in which Kidd fondled, spanked or gave him full-body massages, at times in an Ontario Systems conference room, he said.

He also described what were apparently quasi-medical examinations, for potential hernia and prostrate problems, allegedly administered by the pastor.

The witness also said Kidd once told him of incidents in which the future pastor was sexually abused during his youth.

He said Kidd then warned him to never reveal his secrets, telling the teen, "Don't you ever make your pastor have to lie."

The witness said he revealed what the pastor had done to him while being treated at the rehabilitation facility in 2007, adding that his only motivation in testifying against Kidd was to ensure there were no future victims.

"Are you going to dismiss the civil lawsuit if the jury convicts Mr. Kidd?" attorney Bruce asked the alleged victim.

That drew an objection from Calhoun.

"It has nothing to do with the guilt or innocence of Matthew Kidd," the chief deputy prosecutor said.

After the alleged victim acknowledged that he eventually began listening to hard rock music, Bruce asked that jurors be shown a photo of one of the artists he listened to: Marilyn Manson.

Judge Linda Ralu Wolf said testimony in the case would resume at 9 a.m. today.


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