Carson City church leader admits knowledge of abuse by former pastor, denies other allegations

CARSON CITY, Mich. -- The leader of the Church of Carson City is responding after alarming allegations of sexual abuse within the church community for decades.

It's a story FOX 17 first told you about last week after several former church members shared stories of the alleged abuse.  Many of those former members call the church a cult.

Bill Hubler Sr., pastor of the Church of Carson City, admits he knew of abuse involving their former leader, Lee Sherman, and a little girl in the church. He admits to this day he has never reported that abuse. The church elder also called any other claims of former members of the church lies.

With no formal seminary training, Hubler says he moved to Carson City when he was 27 years old and started attending Bible studies led by Sherman.

“I never met a man in all my life that knew the Bible like this man," Hubler said. "I gave my house away and I came down here with almost nothing with my life and two little kids. Outside of the thing that happened with Lee, I’ve never ever regretted it."

The "thing" that happened with Lee was, according to Hubler, abuse involving a young girl.

"I found out that he was doing naughty stuff with one of the members of the Bible study group's daughter," Hubler said. "I caught him coming out of her bedroom, and I yelled at him real gruffly and mean, like 'What are you doing?!' And it really scared him. I could tell it really scared him."

Hubler says he did not report it to anyone.

"It never even crossed my mind. The mom and dad were there," he said.

Former members claim the girl's parents let Sherman into their daughter's room on multiple occasions.

"I guess I just didn't feel it was my place, you know?" Hubler said. "It wasn't my home. It wasn't my daughter. Her mother and dad were right there."

FOX 17 questioned Hubler on whether he knew what happened in that room was wrong.

"Of course, I was furious," he said. "It ruined my life, kind of, for a moment."

FOX 17 then questioned Hubler if he thought it ruined the life of the little girl.

"Absolutely, I love that little girl," said Hubler. "I still do today.”

Hubler says Sherman was pulled from his leadership role at the church after the incident he witnessed.

"I look back at it now and he should've went to prison," Hubler says. "He should've gotten some big trouble."

That's the only incident of alleged sexual abuse at the Church of Carson City that Bill Hubler doesn't call a lie.

Former member, Jessica Moser, one of several former members who has contacted FOX 17, says Tim Crater, another former member, molested her numerous times when she was a child. Those incidents were also not reported to police.

When asked if Moser ever reported that abuse to him, Hubler said, "All I can remember on that situation is something happened. They said 'Tim's been coming over.' The way I remember it, 'Tim's been coming over, asking the girls to sit on his lap.' That's the way I remember. That was the extent of it."

Hubler says he's shocked by the allegations that have surfaced, all of them.

FOX 17 questioned Hubler about pastors being required by law to report allegations of abuse.

"If I know about it," he responded. "If I know about it."

FOX 17 told Hubler he was learning about the allegations during the interview.

"Yeah, my wife’s about ready to have a nervous breakdown," said Hubler. "I told John, I don’t think she’s going to live through this. This is the biggest pack of lies I’ve ever heard. Honestly."

"You’re asking me about the worst things that’ve ever happened in 50 years in this church, and I’ll bet you, Rebecca, I want you to think about this. You take every church, there’s 11 churches in this little town. I bet you nobody, no church in this town has this good a record. Those few cases," Hubler said. "Because they relate stuff to our church when they get mad at us, like the church did these naughty things. The church had nothing to do with these naughty things. They hate them."

The attorney representing the Church of Carson City says they are not seeking jail time for Anna Morris, the woman charged in the vandalism at the church that prompted many people to reach out to FOX 17 with the initial allegations of abuse. 

They do say they want her to seek psychological counseling. Other former members of the church claim they were not allowed to seek formal counseling outside the church while they were there.

Check back with FOX 17 for more on their interviews with the church elders.

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