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Christian couple who ran traveling ministry arrested for crimes against children
Benjamin and Shaantal Garlick spent years spreading the Gospel while hiding a despicable secret
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If you look on the GoFundMe page they set up last year, Benjamin Garlick and his wife Shaantal said they needed God’s help to purchase a van for their traveling ministry. The one in the picture below had 418,000 miles on it and was no longer big enough to hold their five girls and newborn boy.
… we knew that In the Lord's timing, He would open the door once again for us to get the vehicle we prayed for. And pray we did. His timing is perfect; this week, He opened the door to find the van we have been praying for. Here we are with the new van.
It was a miracle that we found it and even more so how God has opened the door for making it ours. We have 60 days of special financing with no interest. We are calling on you, our faithful supporter and prayer warrior, to help us raise the money to pay for this vehicle before that deadline expires.
They still haven’t met their $40,000 goal, but thanks to multiple large anonymous donations of over $4,000 each, they’re about halfway there.
Still, it’s apparently been enough for the Garlicks to continue their ministry, so Benjamin can deliver Spanish-language sermons all over the south and southeastern part of the country, including Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama and Arkansas. In that way, he’s following in the footsteps of his late father, Ben Garlick.
The most recent donation, of $5, comes from a woman named Marie who appears to have made it just so she could write “words of support” that would be seen by anyone who comes across the page.
She’s not actually offering support, though. Instead, she brings a warning: Don’t give to these people because they’ve been charged with heinous crimes.
It’s true. The ministry came to a halt earlier this month when both Garlicks were arrested on 14 separate charges involving child rape and abuse. The docket says the violations date back to February of 2021 and that the arrests occurred this month after they were indicted by a grand jury.
Benjamin Garlick, 32, faces the majority of the charged offenses. He is accused of five counts of aggravated rape of a child, five counts of aggravated sexual battery, soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor under the age of 13, and continuous sexual abuse of a child, Rutherford County Circuit Court records show.
The pastor’s wife, 29-year-old Shaantal Garlick, was also indicted on two counts: facilitating aggravated rape of a child and aggravated abuse/neglect/endangerment of a child 8 and under.
It’s not clear from the document whether the victims were their own children, though that certainly lines up with their ages. The charges also suggest the mother was aware of the abuse and did nothing of consequence to prevent it. That said, last month, according to WGNS news, Shaantal filed for an Order of Protection against her husband. (We don’t know if that was related to the alleged abuse.)
Their arraignments are scheduled for this morning in Tennessee, at which point they’ll find out the maximum penalties they face. Based on state law, though, if Benjamin is found guilty, he faces “imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.”
It’s also worth noting that when a reporter from Nashville’s WSMV 4 news visited the address of La Espada, a ministry in Murfreesboro that Garlick helps run, there was an eviction notice on the door. It was dated August 29 and said Garlick had not paid the rent and had until the end of September to vacate the premises. (The building is operated by Sword of the Lord Ministries.)
Neither Benjamin nor his wife are drag queens.
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