What did Christ Community Chapel pastor Joe Coffey know and when did he know it?

Truth Seeker
Jul 10 · 9 min read
“Fog Series 5” (CC BY 2.0) by Ken McMillan

From 2014 until now, Christ Community Chapel lead pastor Joe Coffey has defended his friend and colleague Tom Randall, who was accused of mishandling sexual abuse reports at an orphanage he had founded in the Philippines. (Randall has now also been accused of molesting a teenage girl while he lived in the Philippines.)


On November 5, 2013, Coffey’s friend and recent hire Tom Randall had received an email from a missionary he had known for over thirty years in the Philippines. The message said that two girls at the orphanage that Randall had founded and funded had disclosed sexual abuse by the orphanage director, who also happened to be Randall’s right-hand man and close friend.

The case eventually reached the attention of the Philippines equivalent of the FBI. On January 13, 2014, Randall was arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Human Trafficking Division on suspicion of obstruction of justice and negligence in suspected sex trafficking. The orphanage director, Toto Luchavez, and his son, Jake Luchavez, were arrested and subsequently charged with sexual abuse.


Coffey has gone on record making a number of claims which have since been shown to be false. But did Coffey know these statements were false when he said them? Did he mislead knowingly? Or was he deceived? By whom?

What did Joe Coffey know, and when did he know it?

FALSE CLAIM 1: One fifteen-year-old girl made a false allegation of a kiss and quickly retracted it.

  • “Joe’s original charge was that a worker at the orphanage had kissed one of the girls. That ended up to be untrue. The girl recanted the story and said she made it up because she was angry that privileges had been taken away as discipline.” (Jan 14, 2014, “My Friend Tom” blog post)
  • “From what I understand, there was an allegation against a worker at his orphanage by a 15-year-old girl who said the worker kissed her. Tom called children’s services to investigate. They found that the allegation wasn’t true. The girl recanted and said she made it up because she was mad at the worker for taking away her privileges.” (Quoted Jan 18, 2014, Akron Beacon Journal)
  • “And the rumor itself that got to Tom, because he and I sat and talked about it, was that the worker who is in charge of the orphanage, a man named Toto Luchavez, had kissed one of the fifteen year old girls.” (Jan 19, 2014, sermon at Christ Community Chapel)

FALSE CLAIM 2: A December 2013 investigation cleared the orphanage of all allegations.

  • “[Joe Coffey said,] ‘While he [Tom] was at the orphanage, there were some allegations of misconduct (against him and) a couple of his workers.’ Coffey said he was told the allegations were investigated and ‘no problems’ were found.” (Quoted Jan 17, 2014, by MyTownNEO)
  • “I don’t think this is the place to go back and forth. suffice it to say that i think you are slanting this account severely. It doesn’t take much to wonder how the charges morphed to sex trafficking. If you had indeed done all of this then the DSWD would have arrested the two when they investigated before Christmas.” (Jan 17, 2014, comment on “My Friend Tom” blog post in response to Martha Goebel)
  • “So Tom went through three days of interviews with the child services, where they interviewed every child and every adult worker in the orphanage. And he would call me multiple times during those days — they were seventeen hour days for him. Each time he would call, he would just be exhausted, he would just say, ‘We went through another day.’ And then he finally called me and said, ‘They’ve completed their investigation and we’ve been cleared of any kind of misconduct. The two girls who made that accusation have recanted and said they made it up because they’re mad at being disciplined for a privilege being removed.’ So Tom was overjoyed. And he said, ‘So, I’m gonna head on my trip now.’ They celebrated Christmas together in the orphanage and then he headed on his basketball trip.” (Jan 19, 2014, sermon at Christ Community Chapel, Hudson, OH)

FALSE CLAIM 3: The charges against the accused orphanage staff were dropped and the raid deemed unjustified by a judge in August 2014.

News frm filipines.all charges dropped against toto and jake.raid deemed completely unjustified by judge #timeandtruth

Two people replied informing him that the charges had not been dropped — the hearing had ended in a continuation. Coffey didn’t respond to them. A reporter at the Cleveland Scene asked Coffey for a source:

Trying to confirm @JoeCoffeyTalk but couldn’t find online. Source? RT [Joe] All charges dropped against Toto & Jake. Raid deemed unjustified

Coffey replied:

@SceneSallard Tom heard from his attorneys today regarding the hearing last night.my guess is news won’t cover

(Coffey was incorrect. Allard did cover the story — although perhaps not in the way Coffey would have liked.)

Coffey’s statements were objectively false

Was there only one fifteen year old girl who made an allegation of a kiss and then took it back? No.

Did a December 2013 investigation clear both Toto and Jake Luchavez of all allegations? No.

  • At least one of the girls who made the initial allegations says she did not recant her claims in December 2013.
  • In any case, the allegations against Jake Luchavez were not uncovered until January 2014. It’s not possible that they were investigated and discarded in December.

Were the charges against Toto and Jake Luchavez dropped after a hearing in August 2014? No.

  • In fact, documents clearly show that the case continued until at least 2016.

So why did Joe Coffey make false statements?

The common thread here is that Coffey was receiving his information through Tom Randall.

Let’s take as given that Tom Randall, being directly connected to the events, was aware of the facts on the ground. Anything else would be gross negligence. Then logically, there are three possibilities:

  1. Coffey lied: Tom Randall presented the truth to Joe Coffey, but Coffey chose to present a false version to the news and his congregation.
  2. Randall lied: Tom Randall presented a false version to Joe Coffey, who repeated it without checking it or realizing that it was false.
  3. Coffey misunderstood: There was some kind of communications mixup where Randall was telling the truth but Joe Coffey misheard or misremembered it.

Which is it? What did Randall tell Coffey?

Coffey talked about two girls on occasion, while Randall has only ever publicly mentioned one

  • “The two girls who made that accusation have recanted and said they made it up because they’re mad at being disciplined for a privilege being removed.” (Jan 19, 2014, sermon at Christ Community Chapel)

So we can conclude that Coffey did know about at least two female complainants by January 17, 2014, at the latest.

Randall, however, has never publicly mentioned two girls. His October 2017 newsletter, which capped off his account of the saga, only mentioned one girl:

Even the girl who accused our staff member of a kiss has asked forgiveness from him and Karen and me.

Coffey edited his blog post to remove Joe Mauk’s name — so why not also correct the omission of one of the girls? And why the inconsistency when speaking on the 19th?

Coffey claimed Randall told him the December investigation had been completed, but Randall has said otherwise

And then he [Tom] finally called me and said, ‘They’ve completed their investigation and we’ve been cleared of any kind of misconduct. The two girls who made that accusation have recanted and said they made it up because they’re mad at being disciplined for a privilege being removed.’

But Tom Randall said in a December 2018 meeting that he had still been waiting on the report from the DSWD investigation:

The DSWD was supposed to meet with us on Wednesday [Jan 15, 2014], give us their report, their decision and what we were supposed to do. What … with everything, the complaints and everything. It’s clear? The problem was on Monday [Jan 13, 2014] we got a second raid.

One has to wonder why Toto Luchavez was allowed to travel on a ministry trip if Randall was still waiting on a decision from the DSWD?

In general, why hasn’t Coffey mentioned the two young people who still stand by their allegations?

Is it possible he didn’t know about them? No.

  • Coffey strongly implied the first victim was lying, referencing her “file” and “background” (Nov 15 email).
  • Coffey independently brought up the other victim who spoke out publicly. Coffey insinuated that both victims had been bribed or threatened by Joe Mauk (Nov 18 email).
  • Coffey claimed he had spent “hundreds of hours” looking into the situation. He seemed offended when the church member wrote that he and his church appeared to be ignoring the victims who were speaking out and asked rhetorical questions like, “Do you know how many hours have gone into the investigation in the Philippines and here in the States?” and, “And yet you say we have ignored this whole fiasco and never done the necessary investigation to find out the truth of what happened?” (Nov 18 email).

It’s documented, therefore, that by November 2018, Coffey knew about the two alleged victims standing by their statements. If he had already spent hundreds of hours investigating, it’s likely he knew about them all along — and as early as June 2014, Coffey was claiming he had “followed the investigation and the charges very closely.”

Yet he never disclosed this to his congregation. If Coffey knew there were two victims standing by their statements, why didn’t he ever acknowledge them? Why did all his public statements say or imply that the allegation(s) were retracted?

Is Suzanne Lewis-Johnson investigating Randall and Coffey’s inconsistent statements as part of her review into CCC’s organizational response? Her email is records4review@gmail.com if you want to ask her.



I try hard to check facts and link to sources in my posts. If you find an error, please let me know so I can make a correction. You can reach me at at truth.arr@gmail.com.

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And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32