Bishop Larry Trotter, high profiled senior pastor of the Sweet Holy Spirit Church, an 8,000-member, mega-church located in the south side of Chicago, had to do some testifying this morning after a picture has surfaced on the Internet of him having what some are suggesting is inappropriate interactions with a minor.
In the picture, which appears to have been uploaded from the pastor’s own Instagram account, a smiling Trotter can be seen seated in a bubble bath with young girl, who looks between the ages of three to five years old. While there is no evidence of anything felonious happening, both Trotter and the unidentified girl are seen topless in the photo. According to the blog Obnoxious TV, the child in the picture is Trotter’s own granddaughter.
Appearing on the John Hannah Morning Show, Bishop Trotter defended himself from charges of inappropriateness and said that the last couple of days has been a very dark and hurtful times for his family. He also offered explaining for how his granddaughter appeared in the tub with him. According to Trotter, his four-year-old granddaughter, along with her parents, were visiting for the weekend. While taking a bubble bath, the girl came in the bathroom and asked Trotter if she could get in the tub. He then says that both he and his granddaughter had on swim trunks and the mother of the child, who took the picture, was present for five minutes that the child was actually in the tub with him. He then attributes another family member, with access to his Instagram account, with uploading it to the Internet.
The picture, which has been removed from Trotter’s Instagram, had resurfaced yesterday evening on the Facebook fan page for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad Teachings Testimonial Page, with the caption: “NO SIR BISHOP TROTTER!!! No man should ever ever ever take a bath with a female in his family or friends. That’s only for a man and his WIFE! This is totally inappropriate behavior!”
The picture has been shared more than five hundred times, with people leaving comments like “Disgusting!!!! People are really sick in the head. What grown man would want to bathe with a child? Smh.”
The Bishop is not fairing any better with the public on his personal Facebook fan page, with some comments suggesting that authorities be involved: “#jail #prison #throwawaythekey.”
This is not the first time that mega-church pastor’s appropriateness has been called into question. Last September, Trotter drew ire for staging a mock crucifixion using his granddaughter (I’m not quite sure if that is the same child as in the picture) to protest the Chicago Teacher Strike, which he claimed was crucifying the 400,000 public school students of an education. Up until this morning, Bishop Trotter had yet to publicly address this outrage over the picture via his social networking, other than a tweet he sent to Obnoxious TV blogger William G. McCray, admitting that the picture was “not wise.” And on his fan page, there were a few folks, who were willing to wait for more information before passing judgment. “Times are tough…maybe they are conserving water! My 3 sisters had to bathe together!!,” writes one of his supporters.
In the interview, Bishop Trotter said that “coming up” it was not uncommon to share bathwater and that he had even bathed with his own children. He says that he takes the blame for the misconceptions around the pictures but also said that it is awful to think that people believe he can’t be trusted with children. “I’m not ashamed of what I did. I am ashamed and hurt that it is going out all over the world and people have called me everything from a child molestor to a pedoph*le to a narsty old man and how I should get out of the ministry – the vulgarity has been terrible.”
When asked if he had anything to do over, what would he do differently, Bishop Trotter told the Hannah Show that he would never do “it” again. What is not clear was if “it” is the picture or the bubble bathing? The pastor also pledged that if he ever were to use social networking again, he would not let someone “do his page.”
At the very least, this is not a very well reasoned picture. Like Trotter said, back in the day it was not uncommon for family members to share baths. And in some cultures, bath-sharing is still practiced. I also wonder if the genders had been reversed, would the reaction and charges of appropriateness would have been the same. However, culturally we are different. And child abuse and molestation is a very serious concern. And we should all have watched enough “Dateline NBC To Catch a Predator” to know that even if this is just an innocent moment between a grandfather and child, certain things you just don’t upload; and of all places, Instagram? This just goes to show you that this social networking has the potential to ruin a lot of stupid people’s lives.