This is an absolutely crazy story which ranks up there for grotesque creepiness with John Wayne Gacy Jr., the community clown cum serial killer. The story concerns Ronald Brown, a popular puppeteer at various Christian churches, camps and on TV. While serving the Lord in various capacities, Brown spent his spare time fantasizing about torturing, raping, killing and eating young children. Brown was recently convicted and sentenced to twenty years on charges of child pornography. (When police searched his home he had, among other things, multiple images of child pornography, including several that appeared to depict dead children.) You can read more about the story here.
I said this story was high on the creepy meter. To see how creepy watch this twenty year old clip of Brown doing his freaky ventriloquist puppet thing on a Christian children’s TV show. Ventriloquist puppets are creepy on the best of days — personally I think we should put all those awful puppets into a big bonfire and torch ’em — but when you consider the puppeteer, well then this is the stuff of nightmares. At about 2:45 into the clip the puppet starts talking about the “dirty pictures” his friends were looking at. That part of the clip was so chilling that it buried the needle on my creepy meter. (First time that’s happened since serial killer and necrophile Ted Bundy talked about his new found faith to James Dobson.)
Let’s be clear. Brown isn’t a Christian and he wasn’t ever a Christian. He’s a psychopathic predator who exploited naïve and well meaning Christians (and countless others) with a truly nefarious cover: puppeteer and campaigner for Jesus who wants to protect good little children from “dirty pictures”, even as he fantasized about braising boys and grilling girls. Psychopaths are master manipulators and Brown was clearly adept at his craft. Churches are natural draws for predators precisely because they are communities that are intended to foment trust, a welcoming spirit of grace and inclusion. Brown may never have moved beyond fantasizing in chat rooms, but how many other predators are there who have found their way into the church as the ideal means to exploit vulnerable people?