A Message From Heritage Church

A Message From Heritage Church

July 24, 2019

Dear Heritage Church Family,

We wanted to follow up with our church family on the sad news we shared with you last September, and again in November, regarding one of our Sterling Heights campus adult volunteers acting inappropriately with a male high school student. This week, we were informed that Scott Collins was sentenced after pleading “No Contest” in the criminal case brought against him for Child Sexually Abusive Commercial Activity and other similar charges. “Commercial” in this case refers to internet-based crimes. We have been told that he will be extradited to Chicago to face charges there.

We are shocked and grieved by this situation. Please keep the student and his family in your prayers. We continue to work closely with authorities, and we stand with the victim and his family in praying for truth and justice during these criminal investigations.

If you or your family members have any concerns or questions, please contact us as soon as possible.

As we mentioned in our previous communications, “We know this is sad news, but we wanted to get this out to our Heritage families as soon as possible… In the meantime, we ask you to refrain from guessing or gossiping and caution you on the use of social media regarding this matter. Instead, as God’s people, be in prayer, encourage one another and work for hope and healing.”

Please be kind in any responses you give to questions or statements made by others regarding this situation.

If you missed our original communications back in September and November, we have included them below.

Jeff Forester
Heritage Church, Lead Pastor
www.experienceheritage.org

September 2019 Message:

Dear Heritage Church Family,

We are shocked and grieved to share that this weekend, a Sterling Heights campus Heritage member reported to us that an adult volunteer had acted inappropriately with a male high-school student. They also reported the incident to the police. That same day, our staff quickly made contact with the police department concerning these accusations. Pastor Jeff & Pastor Chad contacted the volunteer and took him to the police department. The investigation of the accusation is now in the hands of the proper authorities.

Please pray for the Heritage Church family involved in this sad matter. Pray that God will provide healing and comfort to this dear family. Secondly, please pray for the investigators as they determine the facts. Pray for truth and justice. As followers of Jesus, we always want the whole truth to come out because Jesus taught us that lies enslave us, but the truth sets us free.

As a part of Heritage Church, you know that our church has been built on the service of thousands of volunteers who have donated hundreds of thousands of hours of their time. Most of you know that we have high requirements and strict procedures in place for anyone who volunteers in our student ministries. To be considered for volunteering with students, we require professional background checks, a personal interview and regular training. In this case, the accused volunteer had no record of arrest or criminal charges. Also, our student ministry volunteers recently had a training session regarding appropriate conduct between volunteers and students. Our system of safeguards has safely served thousands of students for over 18 years. Please pray for everyone involved.

We know this is sad news, but we wanted to get this out to our Heritage families as soon as possible. Please understand that while this is an on-going investigation, we do not have any more information to share at this time. We will release the name of the volunteer when the police determine that it is appropriate. In the meantime, we ask you to refrain from guessing or gossiping and caution you on the use of social media regarding this matter. Instead, as God’s people, be in prayer, encourage one another and work for hope and healing.

Jeff Forester
Heritage Church, Lead Pastor
www.experienceheritage.org

November 2019 Message:

Dear Heritage Church Family,

We wanted to follow up with our church family on the sad news we shared several weeks ago regarding one of our Sterling Heights adult volunteers acting inappropriately with a male high school student. This week, we were informed that Scott Collins was arrested and faces charges for child sexually abusive commercial activity. “Commercial” can include internet-based crimes. Investigations are continuing and other charges may be brought. Please keep the student and his family in your prayers. We stand with the victim and his family and pray for truth and justice. We continue to work closely with the authorities during this investigation.

If you, or you family members have any concerns or questions, please contact us. As we mentioned in our previous communication, “We know this is sad news, but we wanted to get this out to our Heritage families as soon as possible. Please understand that while this is an on-going investigation, we do not have any more information to share at this time… In the meantime, we ask you to refrain from guessing or gossiping and caution you on the use of social media regarding this matter. Instead, as God’s people, be in prayer, encourage one another and work for hope and healing.”

Jeff Forester