Lovefraud received an e-mail from a reader who nominated Bishop Terry Hornbuckle, of the Dallas, Texas area, to be profiled as a True Lovefraud Story.
I had not heard of the good bishop. But after reading the news coverage about him, our reader may be right.
Terry Hornbuckle—apparently he appointed himself as bishop—was the founder and charismatic leader of the Agape Christian Fellowship, a megachurch in Arlington, Texas. He preached a message of prosperity, which turned out to be beneficial for the bishop—he and his wife, Pastor Renee Hornbuckle, owned expensive homes and drove luxury cars.
In March, 2005, Hornbuckle was arrested and charged with three counts of rape. He was later charged with possession of methamphetamines. Hornbuckle spent time in rehab, but then tested positive for drug use. On August 22, 2006, Hornbuckle was found guilty of raping three women. Two of his victims were parishioners.
Dallas Observer coverage
Those are the basic facts, but there is far more to the story. It is a tale of power, glamour, minor celebrity, deceit, lust, drugs, and people who had apparently fallen under the bishop’s spell.
For an in-depth look at this sordid tale, I recommend a series of articles published by the Dallas Observer (which originally published the Phil Haberman story) on September 21, 2006:
Be prepared for riveting reading.
Why did he do it?
In The Reverend Freak, the Dallas Observer wrote:
Newspapers and television have covered each day of this seamy trial, though a significant chunk of the material presented to the jury is not fit to print in a family newspaper. What is missing from the blanket coverage is any sense of why: Why Bishop Terry Hornbuckle made this descent from man of God to meth-smoking rapist. Why many of his congregation members stood by him. Why his wife put up with him when his indiscretions were widely known within the church.
The answer may be within Hornbuckle himself. In the articles about the case that I looked at, I did not find any mention that he had been diagnosed as having a personality disorder. But Hornbuckle’s behavior, as described in the articles, sounds just like Dr. Robert Hare’s symptoms of a psychopath.
Hornbuckle was charismatic and grandiose. He bragged about his connections to star football players. He had an insatiable appetite for sex. He used his position of power to prey on the innocent. He was abusing drugs. Like a cult leader, he convinced people to believe him. When he was charged with the crimes, he maintained his innocence, claiming he was the victim of extortion.
Why did he do it? In my opinion, the guy is a psychopath. No other explanation is necessary.
For more on the Bishop Terry Hornbuckle case, see the following articles:
Pastor plans to return to pulpit after rehab (scroll down)