On January 7, 2018, we received information that Paxton had been engaging in an inappropriate texting relationship with a student. Paxton’s employment was terminated “with cause” immediately. This is verified by an “acceptance of termination” letter signed by Paxton on January 7, 2018. Additionally, a call was made by Landon MacDonald, former Lead Pastor of Student Ministry and Camp Harvest (verified by HBC phone records) to the DCFS hotline on January 7, 2018. Landon sent an e-mail on January 7, 2018, to the parents of students at the Rolling Meadows Campus to inform them of Paxton’s termination. HBC phone records reflect that DCFS returned Landon’s call on January 9, 2018, at which time they recorded a formal report.
On January 16, 2018, we received information that Paxton had been engaging in an inappropriate texting relationship with another student. Again, a DCFS report was made by Landon MacDonald on January 16, 2018 (verified by HBC phone records). David Lockwood, the then-HCA Athletic Director, sent an e-mail on January 16, 2018, to the parents of the HCA boys basketball team to inform them of Paxton’s termination.
On January 31, 2018, after hearing of Paxton’s termination, a parent met with Craig Steiner, Campus Pastor of Aurora, to report their concerns over some inappropriate text messages that had been sent to their child in December 2017. Following the meeting with this parent, a report was made to the DCFS hotline by Craig Steiner on the same day (verified by HBC phone records).
Update: A call was made to report the incident to the DCFS Hotline by Craig Steiner but an incident report was not formally filed because sufficient information was not provided on the phone call. Pastor Craig believed that he had completed all the necessary steps in his role as a mandatory reporter by placing the initial phone call. However, the official incident report about the event in which Pastor Craig called was not filed until a later date (June 13) by a former Harvest employee, Rob Williams.
On May 10, 2018, Landon MacDonald received notification from DCFS that his report made on January 9, 2018, was found to be “indicated,” which means that there was credible evidence of child abuse or neglect found during the DCFS investigation.
On June 29, 2018, Craig Steiner called DCFS again to follow up on his initial report. In a letter dated October 12, 2018, Craig Steiner received notification from DCFS that his report made on January 31, 2018, was found to be “indicated”. However, this October 12, 2018 letter lists an incorrect report date of June 13, 2018. The correct date of Craig’s initial report to DCFS was January 31, 2018, which is confirmed by HBC phone records.
Again no formal report was taken on January 31, 2018, by DCFS.
We have since learned that Rob Williams, the former Associate Pastor of Biblical Counseling, made a report to DCFS on June 13, 2018. Rob Williams was not an employee of HBC when this report was made. We believe that this report was made about the same victim that Craig Steiner initially reported on January 31, 2018, and may explain why there is a discrepancy in the report date listed on the DCFS letter that was sent to Craig Steiner dated October 12, 2018. In an effort to correct the DCFS records, on October 19, 2018, Craig Steiner sent a letter to the State Central Register requesting a correction to the report date on the DCFS letter dated October 12.
Update: The recent response we received from DCFS was based on this letter sent to the State Central Register’s office.
On October 23, 2018, a statement regarding Paxton Singer was posted on the HBC website along with the former Executive Leadership Team’s (XLT) all-church email, which included information regarding Paxton’s termination with links to the Chicago Tribune article and HBC’s press release.