Brandon Milburn Enrolls at SLCC
Brandon Milburn enrolled at Saint Louis Christian College in August of 2005 and began attending and volunteering with the children’s ministry at FCCF. The church hired Brandon part-time as a children’s intern with two other interns the next year (2006), working with 5th graders. He would continue as a paid intern through December of 2007.
Problems Surface During
2006-2007 School Year
During the 2006 – 2007 school year, a former staff member reported that “I had conversations with Brandon about being alone with both (Family Name) boys and the youngest (Family Name) as all 3 boys stated how uncomfortable they had gotten. Not to my surprise, he pushed what I was saying away. I told the (Family Name) about my conversation and how uncomfortable their son was and they asked Brandon to move back to SLCC. From there, I honestly avoided him…because he honestly, avoided me.”
- 3 boys stated how uncomfortable they had gotten with Milburn
- June 2007, Milburn committed the 6 counts of sodomy for which he was charged
- October 2007, Milburn committed the 7th count for which he was charged
Milburn Goes to Southeast Christian Church
Oct 2008 – Apr 2009
Milburn left First Christian Church of Florissant and went back to his home church in Kentucky, and was employed by Southeast Christian Church as their Atmosphere and Media Technician.
Milburn Returns to Florissant
Milburn returns to Florissant in August of 2009 and re-enrolls in St. Louis Christian College to obtain a BS in ministry. He also volunteers at First Christian Church of Florissant and is able to reconnect with his past victims from 2007. During his first semester back at SLCC Milburn brings minors from FCCF to his dorm room.
Milburn Moves to California
During the summer of 2010, Milburn moved to Simi Valley California and interned at Discovery Church. While there he met a young woman. He maintained contact and corresponded with her during the fall. The young lady enrolled in St. Louis Christian College for the Spring 2011 semester to be close to Milburn. During this period Milburn meets and becomes friends with Scott Strandell and his family.
Scott Strandell Hired As Executive Pastor
Scott Strandell joined the staff of First Christian Church of Florissant as Executive Pastor in July of 2010.
Milburn Returns to a Campus Dorm Room
Milburn was asked to leave the host family’s home and return to his dorm at St. Louis Christian College.
Milburn Hired As “Creative Elements” Director
Milburn graduated from St. Louis Christian College with a BS in preaching and was hired by First Christian Church of Florissant as the “Creative Elements Director”, Aug 2011. He is employed by FCCF until January 2012.
Joplin Mission Trip Exposes Milburn
During a mission trip to Joplin Missouri to help with clean up and re-construction, one of the church elders observed Brandon Milburn and another young man (14 yr old) sleeping in a secluded spot behind furniture away from the other men on the mission trip. The elder counseled Milburn that the sleeping arrangement was not appropriate. The youth returned to Florissant with Milburn in a separate vehicle.
The elder reported the inappropriate behavior to Pastor Steve Wingfield when the group returned from the mission trip.
Milburn Still Volunteers with FCCF Youth
Milburn left FCCF’s employment, but continued to volunteer with youth from the church. During this period he was doing contract work for Gateway Christian Church.
Gateway Reports Allegations
Gateway church contacted Pastor Wingfield and reported rumored allegations of inappropriate behavior by Brandon Milburn toward minors.
Dawn Varvil Warns Victim’s Mother,
Is Berated by Brazle
Dawn Varvil warns the abuse victim’s mother of the situation with Brandon Milburn. Virgil Brazle berates Varvil and accuses her of harassment and threatens that she will never work in youth ministry again.
Wingfield and Strandell Call Varvil
Pastors Steve Wingfield and Scott Strandell called a meeting with Dawn Varvil to discuss the rumors floating around Gateway Church. Varvil reported concerns about possible inappropriate behavior toward certain youths by Milburn which were discounted, dismissed and ignored by both pastors. (These were concerns for six other boys, in addition to the two young men who brought charges against Milburn.)
Milburn Still A Volunteer in FCCF Youth Ministry
Feb – Jun 2012
Brandon Milburn was allowed to act as a volunteer in the FCCF youth ministry from February through June of 2012 even though two different people reported inappropriate behavior by Milburn toward FCCF youth.
Milburn Allowed to be VBS Leader
Milburn was allowed to act as a Vaction Bible School leader in the FCCF student ministry. This is after Wingfield has received three reports from adults about Milburn’s behavior. (1 – FCCF elder, 2 – Dawn Varvil, 3 – Gateway Christian Pastor)
Milburn Heads Back to California
Milburn is hired by Mission Church, Ventura, California with the recommendation of Steve Wingfield.
Scott Strandell Quits FCCF
Scott Strandell ended employment with First Christian Church of Florissant in July of 2012.
Milburn Moves to Real Life Church
Milburn leaves Mission Church and begins working with Real Life Church of Valencia, California. He received another recommendation from Steve Wingfield.
Milburn Returns to St. Louis and is Arrested
Milburn returns to St. Louis to attend Scott Strandell’s son’s wedding. He is arrested and eventually pleads guilty to 7 counts of sodomy.
KSDK Coverage of Arrest
Feb 11, 2014
KSDK NewsChannel5 Story on Milburn.
KTVI Coverage ofArrest
Feb 11, 2014
KTVI Fox2Now story on Milburn.
KMOV Coverage of Arrest
Feb 11, 2014
KMOV-TV story on Milburn.
Feb 11, 2014
Post-Dispatch story on Milburn
FCCF Releases a Press Statement
Feb 11, 2014
Having just heard of these charges from something that happened in 2007, our first concern is with how we can best help any victim heal. The charges point to a time when as a college student he served in a part time role as an intern. For the last several years he has been living in another state. We have a justice system who can do the investigation and we will assist them any way we can as our church family works through this.
Milburn had not lived in California for several years but had been given access to children at FCCF until June 2012.
Milburn Pleads Guilty
Jan 26, 2015
Milburn pleads guilty to seven counts of 1st degree statutory sodomy on January 26, 2015. He is remanded to the St. Louis County jail to await sentencing.
An Open Letter To Steve Wingfield
Mar 20, 2015
Kari Benton, wife of former FCCF pastor Titus Benton, posted a scathing letter to Steve Wingfield on Facebook March 20, 2015. In that letter she outlined Wingfield’s caustic leadership style, his lack of action surrounding the sexual abuse allegations, his passive/aggressive use of the pulpit to chastise employees and the fact that he has lied about events and employees at First Christian Church of Florissant.
White-Flag Church Threatens SLCC
Mar 23, 2015
Pastor Paul Wingfield called St. Louis Chrisitan College president, Dr. Veech and angrily declared that White Flag Christian Church could not support an institution tied to an agitator like Lay. He told Veech that his church was halting contributions to the college, effective immediately. This is a link to a 5/29/15 RFT article that lays out the situation.
6th Edition of Case Study
Mar 28, 2015
Professor Lay publishes the 6th Edition of “Is It Enough?” case study on FCCF. At first the case study is only given to the elders of the church and to the senior pastor.
Milburn Sentenced to 25 Years
Mar 30, 2015
Brandon Milburn is sentenced to three concurrent 25-year sentences in St. Louis County Court on March 30, 2015.
Children Workers Meeting
Apr 1, 2015
Pastor Wingfield and FCCF elders hold a Questions and Answers meeting for children’s ministry workers in the FCCF student ministry.
Congregational Q&A Meeting
Apr 8, 2015
A Questions and Answers meeting took place between Pastor Wingfield, some of the elders of the church and some concerned church members.
Apr 12, 2015
FCCF Files Temporary Restraining Order
Apr 16, 2015
Steve Wingfield and First Christian Church of Florissant file a temporary restraining order with the St. Louis County Courts, seeking to silence whistle blowers at FCCF. The motion for a restraining order was dismissed by the courts on First Amendment grounds and was not issued.
FCCF Files Defamation Law Suit
Apr 16, 2015
Steve Wingfield and First Christian Church of Florissant file a defamation law suit against four former members of FCCF. Named in the suit are a former youth pastor and his wife Titus and Kari Benton , Professor Doug Lay, a college professor and Sunday school teacher, and Dawn Varvil, a wife, mother and youth sponsor.
GoFundMe Page Set Up To Help With Legal Bills
Apr 16, 2015
A GoFundMe page is set-up to help pay legal bills for the four former FCCF members being sued by Steve Wingfield and FCCF.
“Can a Church Ever File a Lawsuit?”
Apr 25, 2015
FCCF issues “Can a Church Ever File a Lawsuit?” document that describes the Biblical basis for filing a lawsuit in a court of law.
Lay’s Motion To Dismiss
Apr 27, 2015
Professor Doug Lay files a “motion to dismiss” with St. Louis County Courts.
Lay’s Attorney Issues Four-Page Letter
Apr 27, 2015
Doug Lay’s attorney, A.W. Johnson, issues 4-page letter to Steve Wingfield’s attorney highlighting the problems with their defamation suit and stating that they have not acted in good faith and have not responded to attempts to set up meetings between the parties. He suggests they drop the suit immediately.
iPetition to Remove FCCF from Lawsuit
Apr 29, 2015
An iPetition is created to collect signatures from FCCF members who beilieve that the church should NOT be a party to a lawsuit against its members.
RFT Publishes Article on Brandon Milburn and Steve Wingfield
May 5, 2015
The Riverfront Times publishes article on Brandon Milburn and First Christian Church of Florissant, and highlights Steve Wingfield.
SNAP Issues Press Release
May 6, 2015
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) issued a press release sighting the Riverfront Times 5/5/15 article.
Berger’s Beat Mentioned Failed Restraining Order
May 6, 2015
Berger’s Beat mentions failed request for restraining order.
RFT Publishes “Whistle Blowers Fight Back“
May 8, 2015
Whistleblowers Fight Back Against Pastor Steve Wingfield’s Lawsuit
By Sarah Fenske
Wingfield Withdraws Lawsuit “Without Prejudice”
May 11, 2015
Senior Pastor Steve Wingfield and First Christian Church of Florissant withdraw defamation lawsuit “without prejudice”, meaning they can re-file the suit at will.
Post-Dispatch Publishes Article About FCCF Dismissal of Lawsuit
May 12, 2015
STLTODAY.COM publishes an article stating “Florissant church, pastor dismiss defamation lawsuit.”
RFT Publishes “Pastor Drops Lawsuit”
May 13, 2015
The Riverfront Times publishes article titled “Pastor Drops Lawsuit Against First Christian Church of Florissant Whistleblowers“.
Professor Lay Resigns from SLCC
May 19, 2015
After serving on the staff of St. Louis Christian College for 17 years and being awarded “Teacher of the Year” in 2015 by SLCC students, Doug Lay resigned from SLCC. Contrary to what the college has been telling students and the public, SLCC actually put a “muffler” in his employment contract. It was “stay silent and employed, or else.” Lay would not be silenced. This is a press-release from Lay’s lawyer, AW Johnson. A Facebook post from an alumnus of SLCC includes a copy of the contract addendum. It took till Aug 17, 2015 for this to surface
Post-Dispatch Article on Lay’s Resignation
May 21, 2015
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch publishes an article about Professor Lay’s resignation.
Jake McDonnell Publishes “Return to the Gospel” Blog Entry
May 22, 2015
Andrew (Jake) McDonnell publishes a blog entry titled “Return to the Gospel First Christian Church and St. Louis Christian College”
RFT Publishes “Professor’s Accusations Led to South County Pastor Yanking Bible College Funding“
May 29, 2015
The Riverfront Times publishes a long article detailing how First Christian Church of Florissant used another church, run by Steve Wingfield’s brother Paul, to put pressure on Lay (through the college) to remain silent. White-Flag church also supports SLCC, at least they did in the past.
Dawn Varvil’s Lawyer Sends “Demands” Letter
Jun 4, 2015
Dawn Varvil’s lawyer, Nicole E. Gorovsky, sends a “demands” letter to Wingfield’s attorney.
RFT Publishes “Whistleblower Demands Church Change Sexual Assault Policies”
Jun 5, 2015
Riverfront Times publishes “Whisteblower Demands Church Change Sexual Assault Policies, Hints at Lawsuit“.
FCCF Members Set Up A GoFundMe Account For Abuse Victims
Jun 6, 2015
Members of First Christian Church of Florissant set up a Go-Fund-Me account to accept donations in support of sexual abuse victims at FCCF.
Post-Dispatch Publishes “The Battle for First Christian Church of Florissant”
Jun 8, 2015
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch publishes a front-page article titled “The Battle for First Christian Church of Florissant“.
Matt & Amy Mueller banned from FCCF
Jun 13, 2015
Matt Mueller was banned from FCCF property. Matt and Amy had been 15-year active members in the church who had volunteered in a number of areas. Matt was read a “No Trespassing Order” over the phone by one of elders. Matt’s crime? He insisted on honest answers from the elders in the lobby of the church. According to the elders, this causes “division within the church”. Other FCCF members thought this was a bad move.
Petition for Pastor Steve Wingfield’s Resignation
Jun 15, 2015
After losing more than 50 members of the church and watching seven staff members leave within an 18 month period, 120 church members signed a petition requesting the resignation of Pastor Steve Wingfield. The petition and signatures were delivered to the elders 6-15-15.
Former Youth Pastor Responds to Elders’ Open Letter
Jun 25, 2015
Form FCCF Youth Pastor Titus Benton responds to the Open Letter published by the FCCF elders and provides counter-points and corrections to their less than truthful narrative.
Julie Anne Publishes Post on Ethical Issues at FCCF
Jul 10, 2015
Julie Anne publishes “A Closer Look at Ethical Issues Involving First Christian Church of Florissant and the Counseling They are Offering to Sex Abuse Victims ” on spiritualspringboard.com.
Pastor Steve Wingfield Given a Six-Month Sabbatical
Jul 22, 2015
FCCF announces a six month sabbatical for Senior Pastor Steve Wingfield. The announcement was made at the Wednesday evening service.
Elder Stanly DuBose Announces Wingfield’s Sabbatical
Jul 26, 2015
Stanly Dubose makes a four minute statement explaining that senior pastor Steve Wingfield has been given a six-month sabbatical to help relieve the stress and pressure resulting from the “recent attacks” on the church.
RFT Publishes Article on Wingfield’s Sabbatical
Aug 4, 2015
Danny Wicentowski of the Riverfront Times posts an article titled “Church Cites “Stress, Grief, and Fatigue” For Embattled Pastor Steve Wingfield’s Sabbatical.
St. Louis Christian College Lied About Pressuring Professor Lay
Aug 17, 2015
It seems SLCC’s cat is out of the bag. An SLCC alum made a Facebook post with an addendum that the college attached to Prof Lay’s employment contract. This contradicts the college’s claim that he received the same contract as other teachers. It also shows that SLCC denied Professor Lay’s 1st Amendment Rights as a condition of future employment.
St. Louis Christian College Students Make Announcement at End of Chapel
Oct 20, 2015
Students make announcement at end of Chapel Services, 10-20-15, about their dissatisfaction with how SLCC has handled information about professors, students, resignations, and causes.
SLCC Trustee Resigns After Investigating Claims by Prof Lay and Students
Nov 14, 2015
One St. Louis Christian College trustee listened to claims from professors, ex-professors, staff, students, and alumni. One trustee investigated at a level beyond asking President Veech what had occurred. That trustee took copious notes (available if you contact her). That trustee resigned on October 23rd, saying, “I can no longer recommend SLCC to prospective students, encourage people to give monetary gifts … or encourage well-qualified educators to apply for positions, at least in the college’s current state.” That trustee made a public statement today. Here is that statement.
SLCC Officials Are Still Stonewalling and Now Refuse Private Conversations with Kepley or Lay – May 16, 2017
From 5-16-17 Facebook Post:
On March 2nd, 2017, SLCC Chairman of the Trustees Rick Mosher stated:
“(FCCF lead minister Steve) Wingfield did not act responsibly in the matter of the convicted felon (Brandon Milburn). I’ve been told by an elder that they were going to investigate more but then felt they were getting boxed into a corner … I think what the elder told me was along the lines that maybe Doug, in their opinion was trying to move too fast on this.”
Chairman Mosher admits that Steve Wingfield mishandled matters related to convicted child molester Brandon Milburn. Chairman Mosher admits that an FCCF elder confided in him personally that the church did not conduct a full investigation into the cover-up/mishandling of child sexual abuse. Chairman Mosher admits that he had conversations with FCCF elders about former SLCC Professor Doug Lay (who SLCC forced to resign or cease his FCCF-related whistleblowing).
Given his openness about FCCF’s significant and grievous moral failures, Chairman Mosher was privately asked by me on March 9th, 2017 about SLCC’s continued public instruction for incoming students to make FCCF their top-of-the-list choice for a home church and consequently Steve Wingfield their top-of-the-list choice for their pastor while they attend SLCC: “Privately you speak candidly with me about how wrong FCCF was and how Wingfield should have been fired … Publicly, SLCC encourages students to attend FCCF. Please explain.”
Chairman Mosher’s response: “That’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve asked … don’t bother me anymore about this.”
(Much more to come … stay tuned)