Former pastor guilty of sexual abuse

February 23, 2023

On Feb. 23, 2023, a former pastor in the New England Conference pleaded guilty to three types of felonies – including rape of a child under age 16 – related to incidents that took place between 1988 and 2006. 
Russell Davis was sentenced to three to four years in Massachusetts state prison, followed by three years of probation. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender, receive sex offender treatment, have no contact with children under age 18 and no contact with any of the victims or witnesses in the case.

Our pastors hold a position of authority and trust, and when that trust is violated, harm is done. We share the grief and sense of betrayal experienced by the victims and those close to them. We pray for healing for all those affected by Davis’ grievous actions.
The New England Conference and The United Methodist Church are committed to the protection of children and youth. We strive to make our churches and other facilities safe spaces for everyone.  
We have high standards for clergy conduct and rigorous policies in place to prevent incidents of sexual misconduct or abuse, but we know that no measures are infallible. We want to ensure that everyone understands our sexual misconduct reporting procedures and how to engage support resources, which can be found here.
Davis served as a licensed local pastor beginning in 1999; he served churches in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. His license was discontinued in 2015 for reasons unrelated to these charges or any form of sexual misconduct.