The female pastor who was expelled after receiving complaints that she had visited an adult store with members of her church and bought sex for them receives at least a $ 500,000 payout.
Pastor Dr. Amy Butler, the first woman to lead the famous Riverside Church in Manhattan, New York, was removed from her leadership position as a result of harassment claims following an incident that occurred during a religious conference trip in May in Minneapolis, the New York Post reported Thursday.
During the trip, Butler reportedly took two assistant ministers – a single mother and a gay man – and a female churchgoer to the adult store Smitten Kitten, where they supposedly have sex toys for themselves, the female congregant, and a $ 200 Beaded Rabbit vibrator for her wife bought assistant minister as a 40th birthday gift, the woman said she felt pressured to accept even though she didn't want to.
Pastor Dr. Amy Butler was removed from her leadership position on harassment claims after allegedly visiting an adult store with members of her NYC-based Riverside Church
The incident would have happened during a religious conference trip in Minneapolis in May, when she reportedly took two assistant ministers – a single mother and a gay man – and a female churchgoer to the adult store Smitten Kitten (photo)
A formal complaint about harassment was filed days after the shopping trip and the church attorney investigated the claims made – leading to the deposition of the pastor, as Riverside Church said that they would not renew her contract.
The New York Post now reports that Butler will receive an exit package of more than half a million dollars.
Butler receives her salary for 12 months – that was $ 250,000 a year – plus a six-month housing allowance, worth $ 48,000. The church also uses $ 59,000 for three-year annual pension contributions, as stipulated in its contract.
In addition to all that, Butler will also receive a $ 100,000 & # 39; separation fee & # 39; which includes unused holiday pay and a lawyer coverage of $ 10,000.
It was claimed that Butler (photo) – the first woman to lead the congregation – purchased sex toys for herself, the female congregant, and a $ 200 Beaded Rabbit vibrator for her female assistant minister as a 40th birthday present
Butler (photo) would also have offered to buy the male assistant minister a sex toy, but he refused the offer
All in all it is said that she is taking $ 594,530 out of the church, which has left the money until July 31 from her contract that expired on June 30.
Emails from the New York Post announced that the Riverside Church Council had to vote to approve the payment agreement, but one employee raised concerns about binding so much of the church's operating budget, which is used to reduce labor costs to cover.
Neither the church nor Butler commented on the payout or incident that was being investigated and substantiated by an external investigator, sources told the newspaper.
A source also told the publication that the assistant ministers were uncomfortable and were afraid of & # 39; professional retribution & # 39; if they did not go to the sex toy store, despite being told by the pastor that they did not have to join them.
In addition to buying sex toys for the women in the group, the pastor – who was hired in 2014 and the first woman to lead the congregation – also claimed to have offered the male assistant minister a toy, but he refused .
Butler's hefty payout would include a full year of her $ 250,000 salary, a housing allowance of $ 48,000, and a contribution of $ 59,000 in pension premiums, among other amounts
All in all, Riverside Church is expected to pay its $ 594,530, which will come from the operating budget of the church and which will be due on July 31
At the register, Butler reportedly said: is this a church business publication? and took out a credit – it is not known whether she used the church card to make the purchase.
Butler & # 39; s supporters claimed that she had lost her job by speaking about sexual harassment in the church, particularly an incident in which she claimed that a former member of the church council was harassing her, the New York Times reported.
But one source said that both Butler and Riverside Church have agreed to separate.
The announcement was made in a joint statement on the church's website.
& # 39; Rev. Dr. Amy Butler and the Riverside Church Council announce that Pastor Amy will not renew her contract as Senior Minister after five years of leadership. When Pastor Amy's contract was nearing its end, both she and our congregational leadership prayerfully distinguished how best to do the work of God in the world they are named after, & the statement partially said.
Pastor Amy Butler also said in the statement: & # 39; It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to have led the Riverside congregation for five years. I love that beautiful, beloved congregation and I believe that when we love each other, we can change the world. & # 39;
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