Los Altos Town Crier Publication Date: May 29, 2002 Previous story - Index - Next Story
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Los Altos resident, former minister, lived clean life prior to arrest for molestation

By Linda Taaffe

Town Crier Staff Writer

The former youth minister, arrested outside his Los Altos home last week for allegedly molesting teenage boys at a Long Beach church during the 1970s, had no police record in Los Altos and was not being investigated for any crime in the area late last week, said Sgt. Tom Connelly of the Los Altos Police Department.

Gary Allen Carson-Hull, 57, booked on suspicion of 18 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, was being held in Santa Clara County Jail in lieu of $900,000 bail last week. He appeared to have led an unblemished life in Los Altos' Orange Avenue neighborhood during the past 20 years, according to friends.

A software distributor, Carson-Hull spent much of his time with his wife and two sons restoring their historic 1909 bungalow. He served eight years on the city's historical commission and volunteered with his children's Boy Scout troop and numerous other community groups. He was also a member of the Los Altos United Methodist Church on Magdalena Road.

The Rev. Kristie Olah, pastor at the United Methodist Church in Los Altos, said she knew of no complaints at the church about Carson-Hull's conduct. The church has strict written policies in place to protect children, she said. All adults involved in youth programs, including pastors, are fingerprinted and the church requires that two adults be present at all times during youth programs, such as bible school.

Olah said Carson-Hull has been a church member for 20 years but attends services there infrequently.

"He was not very active. He attended about four times a year," she said. "He wasn't someone I knew very well."

Olah said he did participate in the Boy Scouts at the church about 10 years ago when his sons were members. He did not hold a leadership position, she added.

Longtime friend Marcia Goode-Lloyd , who learned of the charges in the news, said Carson-Hull worked very hard to put his past behind him.

"This is so hard to fathom, but I still feel loyal to him. I believe he turned his life around one hundred percent," she said.

Goode-Lloyd said she met Carson-Hull in 1988. Her nephew was friends with his son.

Los Altos resident Judy Hannemann also defended Carson-Hull.

"He has already paid for what he did all those years ago. He did what he was told to do. He lost his job, went to counseling and had a clean slate when he came to Los Altos," she said.

The arrest

Connelly arrested Carson-Hull at 9:45 a.m., May 21 after Long Beach detectives alerted Los Altos police that Carson-Hull was wanted for allegedly fondling and sodomizing two boys between 1975 and 1979 at the Los Altos United Methodist Church in Long Beach, where he served as an associate minister in charge of the youth fellowship. The boys were between 11 and 14 at the time.

Connelly said Carson-Hull was very cooperative when they arrested him and told police he had undergone counseling before moving to Los Altos in 1979.

Carson-Hull was expected to be transferred to Long Beach late last week. Long Beach Police Detective Craig Newland Carson-Hull could face up to 76 years in prison if convicted on all counts. He said no arraignment date had been set last Wednesday.

The investigation

Long Beach police began investigating Carson-Hull earlier this year when an alleged victim, now 38, came into the police station to ask about the statue of limitations for prosecuting a molestation case.

"He wasn't interested in pursuing a case or pressing charges. He just wanted some information," Newland said. The recent sex scandals in the Catholic church involving priests prompted him to come forward, Newland said.

Police launched an investigation in April, when a second alleged victim, 39, talked to the first victim and decided to contact police.

"Because of the degree of molestation on the second victim, we decided to move forward with the case," Newland said.

Newland said the alleged incidents happened on church trips and at the church.

Church officials knew of the incidents in 1979 after a teen reported that he was being molested, Newland said. The family didn't want the church to report the crime to police, Newland said.

Church officials took away Carson-Hull's title, fired him and sent him to counseling.

Newland said clergy were not required to report sexual abuse back then. Today, they are required to report suspected abuse.

At least eight more possible victims contacted police after hearing of Carson-Hull's arrest last week and police believe there could be more possible victims Newland said.

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This article was originally published on May 29, 2002 in the Los Altos Town Crier.

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