A former pastor of a church formerly located in Arnold plead guilty in February and was sentenced to probation in April for breaking into the home of a church member to steal prescription opiods, according to court documents. On top of that, this story takes a number of twists and turns that I will lay out in this post.
The pastor’s name is Tom Skiles, and the church was SOS Church, which was located on JeffCo Boulevard but has since moved out of Arnold. Skiles led the church for 10 years (he got some attention in 2009 for a series of MMA-themed sermons). The relocation of the church in April 2014 to Rockwood Summit High School (RSHS) was prompted by a court judgment against the church after it fell behind by over $23,000 in rent to its landlord, according to court documents. Casenet indicates that this judgment has yet to be paid by Skiles and/or the church.
Several former members of the church are convinced that the reason SOS could not pay its rent is because Skiles stole money from the church for personal use, based on extravagant spending they witnessed. However, these allegations do not appear to have been brought to police.
However, Skiles has violated his probation with separate arrests for DWI and drug possession. The process of revoking his probation is underway in county court.
Timeline of Events
- March 2014 – Skiles breaks into home of parishioners; relocation of church announced*
- late March 2014 – SOS Church announces that Skiles is “taking a little break which is well deserved”*
- April 2014 – Church relocates to RSHS*
- May 2014 – Burglary harges filed against Skiles in Jefferson County court
- June 2014 – Lawsuit filed against church for unpaid rent
- July 2014 – Skiles arrested
- April 2015 – Judge rules for landlord in lawsuit, orders payment of $24,943
- October 2015 – New lead pastors announced at SOS – Skiles’ brother and his wife*
- December 2015 – New name announced for SOS Church – Endurance Church
- February 2016 – Skiles pleads guilty to break in
- April 2016 – Skiles sentenced to five years probation
- July 2016 – Skiles arrested for DWI and marijuana possession in separate events, motion to revoke probation filed
* These events are portrayed on social media as positive happenings; it seems that the true reasoning behind the events was concealed from or downplayed to church members.
Now, one would expect “pastor steals from his flock” to be journalistic red meat, sure to merit mention in the papers, but to my knowledge the Leader has not reported on these events, despite being tipped off by former SOS members. This is especially strange given the sometimes mundane crimes the Leader does report on.
It was also stated by the county prosecutor in Skiles’ criminal case that he was picked up by the Festus PD in early 2016 for DWI but was allowed to go home uncharged. Recall that the Festus PD also let the city judge get away with a potential DWI in 2004, as I wrote about here. How common is this in Festus?
Might these examples of special treatment have something to do with the fact that Skiles’ aunt is the wife of JeffCo sheriff Glenn Boyer?
There is a feeling among the former SOS members I talked to that Skiles has gotten away with a lot. We will have to watch his probation revocation proceedings to see if this continues. In addition, the mug shot above was taken after the marijuana arrest on July 1 – no charges have been filed for this incident as of yet.