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Farm That Provides the White House Thanksgiving Turkey Denies Animal Abuse Allegations

Farm That Provides the White House Thanksgiving Turkey Denies Animal Abuse Allegations


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An animal rights activist group is claiming that the Thanksgiving turkey traditionally supplied to the White House every year has been raised in inhumane, “sickening” conditions.

In an alarming video released by activist group Direct Action Everywhere, simply titled “Her Face Is Half Gone,” animal rights volunteers appear to rescue injured and starving turkeys from the Humane Society-approved Jaindl Farms in Orefield, Pennsylvania, near Allentown — the same family farm that has provided the White House with its pardoned turkey for decades. Jaindl Farms also provides wholesale turkeys to Whole Foods, but a spokesperson with the grocery chain said, "We immediately contacted Jaindl Farms who confirmed that we do not source turkeys from the farm in this video. We only source turkeys from facilities that have third-party Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certification."

The family who owns Jaindl Farms denies these allegations and has fought back against what it calls “a gross distortion of the facts” presented in the format of staged videos with an ulterior agenda. David Jaindl published his own video of the free-range turkeys on his property shown in open-air barns and points to several third-party inspectors who have checked out the farm for any wrongdoing or poor conditions.

“We pride ourselves on animal welfare within our operation and are proud of our human treatment of animals,” Jaindl told The Daily Meal in a phone interview. “These pictures and videos are misleading. These people broke in in the middle of the night with flashlights on their head. The turkeys are naturally attracted to the light and gather around them. So now, it looks like the barn is a lot more crowded than it really is.”

He also explained that the “sick” turkeys featured in the video were in a hospital barn because they had been injured and had to be separated from other turkeys. In an accompanying video shot by his daughter, Jaindl showed how easy it was to make the turkeys crowd around a light source “because they’re curious.” The video then pans to a shot of the rest of the barn, which is entirely empty.

Direct Action Everywhere has responded to the angry backlash against their video by defending their actions:

“Regarding the supposed recovery barn: The investigators visited nearly every barn at Jaindl, so if the videos show ‘challenged turkeys’ then the entire farm is filled with ‘challenged’ - that is, sick and traumatized – turkeys,” representative Zach Groff said. “A tour of Jaindl or any other farm will selectively avoid showing the reality of the farm, so the investigators used the only means available to them to expose what is going on….there is scant supervision of even supposed ‘free range’ farms.”

Direct Action Everywhere, which labels itself as an activist group for the “total liberation of animals,” is not the first organization to publish secretly recorded videos of alleged animal abuse at livestock farms. The activist organization Mercy for Animals released multiple videos last year of inhumane conditions at chicken farms that provided poultry for national companies like Tyson. At the time, Tyson defended its animal practices.

The Daily Meal also spoke with a third-party veterinary inspector, Dr. Sherrill Davison at the University of Pennsylvania, who confirmed that she had visited the farm within days of the video’s release and had found no cause for alarm.

“Looking at the facilities yesterday, the birds were very active, their feathers were clean, the environment was dry and had good ventilation, and they looked to be in excellent condition,” Davison told The Daily Meal in a phone interview. “When I get called into a farm usually right after one of these videos blows up, I go in with an open mind. I will let the owner know if something needs to be corrected. But in this case they really do take good care of the animals.”

Davison also explained that there was no way to trick or bamboozle inspectors after a damaging video was released.

“If a person is not managing the birds correctly, they can’t possibly correct it within 24 hours; I would pick up on if it if something was wrong,” she said.

Jaindl Farms has not responded to questions of whether it will seek legal action for defamation and slander against the animal activist group.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


More victims come forward as allegations against Church of the Harvest grow

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City church is facing harsh allegations, including physical, mental and sexual abuse.

The allegations are being laid out in an open letter to the Church of the Harvest posted online.

“This is what happened. This is what we’ve gone through,” said Elijah Travis, a former church intern and student.

Travis says at 18 years old, church leaders forced him into endless hours of work, at the expense of his own health.

He and other interns say the demands were all made to “strengthen their faith.”

“They were kind of like grooming us to be the servants that they wanted,” said Travis.

“We were told it was the work of God. We’re doing God’s work so we should be grateful,” said Nikiera Everett, another former intern.

Much of the work was allegedly done in deplorable conditions.

“The only way I can explain it is like a compound. They were all cement walls. There were no windows…Mold growing in the wall…Bugs, centipedes, snakes,” said Travis.

“All of the dorms were rat infested. We had to build our own furniture,” said Everett.

Other accusations are physical. Many say they’ve experienced both sexual harassment and abuse.

One victim, whose identity KFOR is protecting, says she’s been trying to heal for 15 years.

“I’ve known I wasn’t the only one for a long time…I gave up hope that anything would ever be done.”

She says she was 20 years old when she came forward to church leadership.

“After what happened to me, I came to him and I begged him. I was begging, with tears streaming down my face, please help me…I was so mentally and emotionally broken. My whole world was shattered,” she said.

Many say they feel betrayed.

“I’ve spent a lot of sleepless nights…There are people who are still trying to silence us and still trying to tell us we’re lying about everything,” said Travis.

Victims are now calling for the church to cease all operations. They also want a public apology from leaders of the church.

KFOR visited Church of the Harvest for answers Monday, but the church was closed. We also called Pastor Grant Pankratz. He answered, but when we identified ourselves, the line went dead.

The pastor responding to allegations vaguely in an online sermon Sunday. He says “outside professionals” will investigate.

The church has sent the following statement:

As you have been made aware, there are some individuals who have decided to become verbally aggressive and voice various complaints about the church and its leadership.
So much of what is posted on those forums is simply false, misleading and hateful.
No church or organization is perfect and we are in numerous meetings and having dialogue with various parties to carefully listen to Valid concerns, to review every aspects of our ministry & staff and to insure policies and procedures that are in place are being followed.
However, we will not be intimidated by, nor enter into dialogue with, or debate people who choose to spread false rumors, direct lies and both verbally and physically threaten members on our staff and people at our church.
We will continue to be a church who cares for this community, cares for our church family and provides spiritual guidance and hope to people during this national & global time of fear, uncertainty and unrest.

Lawrence Swicegood

We also checked with Oklahoma City and Edmond Police to see if any reports have been filed. As of Monday afternoon, they say no reports have been made, however, one victim tells us she did make a report with an Edmond police officer.


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