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Pastor used Scripture trying to coerce congregants into sexual relationships, prosecutors say

Major Foster
Major Foster, a former pastor of Philadelphia Pentecostal Holiness Church of Ellendale, Delaware, preaches a sermon in 2019. |

A pastor charged with inappropriately touching multiple women tried to use Scripture to coerce female churchgoers into sexual relationships, Delaware’s Department of Justice has claimed.

Bishop Major Foster, a former pastor at Philadelphia Pentecostal Holiness Church of Ellendale, faces pending charges of unlawful sexual contact. Prosecutors are asking women to contact local law enforcement if they’ve been abused by the pastor as they now have “reason to believe that additional victims may be unidentified.”

In a statement Thursday, Delaware authorities say that reports made to law enforcement allege Foster “attempted to use scripture to coerce female parishioners into sexual relationships, made inappropriate comments, and instigated prolonged hugs during which he made inappropriate sexual contact with his victims.”

These alleged incidents occurred between 2013 to 2020.

The Christian Post reached out to the Philadelphia Pentecostal Holiness Church of Ellendale for comment on Foster’s indictment. A representative of the church hung up when contacted by phone. A response was not immediately received through email. 

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said she is “grateful to the women who have come forward to the Delaware State Police and our prosecutors.”

“We have reason to believe that Foster’s alleged years long pattern of abuse includes as yet unreported, additional instances,” Jennings said in a statement. “We ask that any additional victims or witnesses with information come forward. We will be there to support you.”

Last November, a Sussex County grand jury indicted Foster on three counts of unlawful sexual contact in the third degree. He was also charged with offensive touching after he pushed a victim’s husband when he was confronted.

Before being charged, Foster gained notoriety in Sussex County, for, among other things, co-founding the Ellendale Community Civic Improvement Association and for campaigning to improve local water quality.

In 2018, Foster worked alongside 87-year-old Harold Truxon and others to get an improved center water system installed in their Ellendale neighborhood after decades of effort.

“For me, it was a no-lose situation,” Foster said in a 2018 interview with The News Journal. “We knew it was God’s will. God doesn’t want any people to live like that without good water, sewer. We knew that it was our job, some way, somehow to make that happen. We weren’t going to quit.”

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