Excerpts from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v Charles Brown

Date: 2006-02-03

December 7, 2004

BY PROSECUTOR JANET R. NECESSARY:

Q.  Would you state your name, please and spell your last name?
A.  Faith Allen, a-l-l-e-n.
Q.  How old are you, Ms. Allen?
A.  Twenty-eight.
Q.  Ms. Allen, back earlier this year, did you attend a certain church?
A.  Yes.
Q.  What church did you attend?
A.  Potter's House Ministry.
Q.  Where is that located?
A.  Braddock
Q.  Did you meet the defendant there?
A.  Yes.
Q.  For the record could you point to the defendant please?
A.  Right there (indicating).
Q.  You're referring to the defendant, Charles Brown?
A.  Yes.
. . . . 

Q.  Now, did you become acquainted with Mr. Brown?
A.  Yes.
Q.  And with any members of his family?
A.  Yes. They considered us their family.
Q.  I'm sorry?
A.  They considered me and my daughter their family.
Q.  All right. Now, did you have any particular relationship with the Defendant?
A.  He was just a brother/father figure to me.
Q.  He was a brother/father figure. All right. Did he perform any pastoral duties towards you?
A.  He started counseling me for childhood issues.
. . . . 

BY DEFENSE ATTORNEY ROBERT DELGRECO:

Q.  The hypnosis that you're talking about is Charles Brown asks you to relax, is that correct?
A.  Correct.
Q.  And asks you to think about your childhood, correct?
A.  Yes.
Q.  And as a result of that, you become unconscious, is that correct?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Does he use any props in this hypnosis?
A.  No.
Q.  You know how you see in the movies with a watch or a pendulum moving?
A.  No.
Q.  He simply tells you to relax and to think of your childhood and you become unconscious?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Now how is it that you come out of this hypnotic trance that you testified to?
A.  Usually he would bring me back, I don't really recall. I just remember sleeping for hours afterwords.

February 2, 2006

BY PUBLIC DEFENDER ARTHUR ETTINGER:

Q.  And you mentioned changing names when you were questioned here today. Faith Allen isn't your birth name correct?
A.  Correct.
Q.  Where does that name come from?
A.  I just changed my name. My daughter and I we are starting over. So we changed our names.
Q.  Okay. You received some media attention when you changed your name to Faith Allen correct?
A.  One newspaper.
Q.  And what was that media attention? Why was that covered in the newspaper?
A.  Because I took the last name of a friend of mine.
Q.  That friend of yours was Judge Allen, correct?
A.  Correct.
.  .  .  .  

Q.  He didn't videotape all the sessions, though, did he?
A.  No.
Q.  And, in fact, he wouldn't videotape sessions where you and he were engaging in sexual conduct, correct?
A.  He taped that? I don't know.
Q.  You and he would agree that certain sessions would not be taped, correct?
A.  Correct.
Q.  And isn't it true that you would agree that sessions not being taped were where he knew that the two of you were
     going to be engaged in sexual touching; is that correct?
A.  No.
Q.  Wasn't it common for him to have his hand down your pants during those sessions?
A.  No.
Q.  Isn't it true that you and Charles had nicknames for each other?
A.  No.
Q.  You don't recall ever calling him Sexy Daddy or him calling you Sexy Mama?
A.  No.
Q.  And do you recall saying something to the effect that someone is going to pay for stuff that happened in my past?
A.  I don't recall saying that, no.
.  .  .  .  

Q.  Isn't it true that you have nightmares involving your past involvement with cults?
A.  At times.
Q.  Including involving observing your parents participating in human sacrifices in cults, correct?
A.  No.
Q.  So you do recall having nightmares about involvement in a cult, but not involving human sacrifices, correct?
A.  Yes.
.  .  .  .  

Q.  Do you recall telling Marie Johnson that you wanted Charles to become your boyfriend?
A.  I never told her that.
Q.  And do you recall a trip to Baltimore that Charles had at the end of May? Do you recall he went out of town to go to
     Baltimore at the end of May?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Do you recall that he was going to go to Baltimore on May 28th, correct?
A.  Correct.
Q.  Do you recall that he spent the night at your house on the evening of May 27th, didn't he?
A.  No.
Q.  That didn't happen. He didn't spend the night at your house?
A.  He had a counseling session with me on a Thursday before he left.
Q.  And he didn't spend Friday night there?
A.  Not that I'm aware of.
Q.  You don't -- did you discuss with him that you were afraid you would lose him when he went to Baltimore?
A.  No.
Q.  Do you recall telling him you wanted to be his wife?
A.  No.
Q.  Do you recall telling him that you were testing him?
A.  No.
Q.  This case -- you weren't able to come to court the last time we were going to have this case to be heard as a trial;
     is that correct?
A.  Yes.
Q.  And that's because you were appearing on national television at that time; is that correct?
A.  I had a situation I needed to deal with, with my daughter.
Q.  That you felt was more important than attending to this, correct? You were unavailable because you had to appear
     on television, correct?
A.  My daughter had to appear on television. I was not going to let her be by herself.
Q.  So you appeared on television with her?
A.  Correct.
Q.  On Oprah and Nancy Grace?
A.  Oprah. Not Nancy Grace.
.  .  .  .  

REDIRECT EXAM BY PROSECUTOR JANET R. NECESSARY:

Q.  Referring to the counseling session at the end of May that Counsel referred to, did anything unusual happen
     during that counseling session or after that counseling session?
A.  Yes. The sessions usually were In my living room, and I was out asleep again, and I just remember waking up
     in my bedroom the next morning, and he was there, but I can't say that he was there all night. I don't know.
Q.  You woke up in your own bed?
A.  Right.
Q.  Do you know how you got there?
A.  No.
Q.  All right. You say the Defendant was at your house in the morning?
A.  Yes.
Q.  All right. Do you know whether or not he spent the night there?
A.  No, I really don't.
Q.  You did not invite him to spend the night?
A.  No.
.  .  .  .  

MR. ETTINGER: First I would move for a judgment of acquittal and I would say that the Commonwealth has not presented, even had that burden of proof, evidence that this victim was unconscious at the time of this incident. That would be the basis of my argument.

THE COURT: Okay. How about a response from the Commonwealth?

MS. NECESSARY: Your Honor, under the law in Pennsylvania, a victim who is unable to think and feel and react, as in the normal waking state, is unconscious for the purposes of the statute. That would include someone who is in a stupor state, someone who is intermittently conscious and unconscious, someone who is intoxicated and someone who is sleeping. The Commonwealth believes that the tape speaks for itself, and this victim was definitely not in the normal waking state.

THE COURT: Well, I don't know what it was. It was strange, to say the least. I don't know. There's been no evidence of intoxication. There's no evidence that the victim was drugged. She was not totally asleep. There was some altered state of consciousness that was observable, but yet there was conversation back and forth. I don't know what to think of it. 

 February 2, 2006

THE COURT: All right. Chief Payne will then testify as an expert in the area of hypnosis.

BY PUBLIC DEFENDER ARTHUR ETTINGER:

Q.  And as an expert In the field of hypnosis, what is your opinion as to whether or not Faith Allen appeared hypnotized
     on the tape?
A.  I don't believe she was under any type of hypnotic trance, from what I saw.
Q.  Why do you not believe she was under any type of hypnotic trance?
A.  I don't believe that she exhibited the physical characteristics one would have in a hypnotic trance. In this particular
     case, she seemed to me almost in a semiconscious state. When I saw some of the physical characteristics
     of him placing her hand on his head, in a trance, you don't have to make physical contact with anyone.
Q.  And in your expert opinion, would you say from watching this video it is possible that Faith Allen was playacting
     in the video?
A.  That's always a possibility, I'm sure.
Q.  All right, and is part of your -- you have been a police officer for many years, and you have had occasion to see
     people who are unconscious or semiconscious, who have been under the influence of some drugs?
A.  Absolutely.
Q.  All right, and did it appear to you that Ms. Allen may have been under the influence of a drug?
A.  When I first viewed this tape, my first impression was, in fact, she was suffering from some intoxicant, whether it
     be a drug or alcohol.
Q.  But your belief is that Ms. Allen was either drugged or in some sort of a -- under the influence of some intoxicant?
A.  From what I observed, yes.

February 3, 2006

BY PUBLIC DEFENDER ARTHUR ETTINGER

Q.  Good morning, Ms. Cogdale. What is your position?
A.  Candy Cogdale.
Q.  And where do you work?
A.  I work at home. I have a day care out of my home.
Q.  And how do you know Charles Brown?
A.  From my church.
Q.  And how do you know Faith Allen?
A.  Also from my church.
Q.  And did Faith Allen come to you with her problems, ever, as you knowing her through the church?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Did Faith Allen approach you about a problem she was having in regards to Charles Brown?
A.  Yes.
Q.  And what did she tell you was the problem?
A.  She came to me. I was on the phone. She said that she was having some problems with somebody in the church and
     that Pastor Brown had been hypnotizing her, and she thought that he was fondling her.
Q.  And did you talk to her about what some of her options might be and how to handle that situation?
A.  Yes.
Q.  And what, if anything, did you discuss doing about it with her?
A.  I told her that we will go and talk to the head of our church about the situation. And when she first came to me with
     the situation, that she said, I thought that he was doing this, well, I was like, you can't just say you thought
     somebody was doing something to you, and I don't remember the process after that.
Q.  Did she discuss with you setting up a camera in her house?
A.  She did, yes. She did.
Q.  And how did she say she planned to do that? As in how she was going to set it up?
A.  Yes. She just said she was going to set up a camera and have him come over, and she was going to videotape him
     hypnotizing her.
Q.  And did she approach you after making this videotape?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Did she show you this videotape?
A.  Yes.
Q.  How did she act while she was showing you this videotape?
A.  She was kind of skittish, a little gigglish when she was showing me the tape.
Q.  Would it be fair to say she was giggling or laughing when she showed the tape?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Ms. Necessary asked you if she told you she was having bad dreams. Did she ever talk to you of having
     recurring issues about being a member of a cult?
A.  Yes.
Q.  And did she ever tell you, as a member of a cult, she took part in human sacrifices?
A.  Correct.
Q.  Did she tell you that, as part of her participating in a cult, she participated in human sacrifices?
A.  Not that she participated, but that she witnessed. She said she did see human sacrifices. 

February 3, 2006

BY PUBLIC DEFENDER ARTHUR ETTINGER:

Q.  What is your name, sir?
A.  Bishop Odeus L. Carswell.
Q.  And where do you work, Mr. Carswell?
A.  I'm a senior pastor at the Potters House Ministries.
Q.  How do you know Charles Brown?
A.  Charles Brown was a member of our church.
Q.  And do you know Faith Allen?
A.  Yes, I do.
Q.  How excuse me, how do you know Faith Allen?
A.  She too was a former member of the church.
Q.  Did she grow up in your church?
A.  No, she didn't.
Q.  Did you know anything about her background when she came to your church?
A.  I heard some rumors, I guess you could call them.
Q.  Were you approached about a situation between Faith Allen and Charles Brown?
A.  Yes, I was.
Q.  Who approached you about that?
A.  Pastor Pollard.
Q.  Were you shown a videotape?
A.  Yes.
Q.  Now, was Faith Allen present within this videotape?
A.  No, she wasn't.
Q.  What, if any, action did you take upon viewing this videotape?
A.  I didn't view the entire tape. I viewed a portion. I then called Reverend Brown in and asked him about it, and
     we then relieved him of his pastoral duties that day.
Q.  At that time, was Faith Allen permitted to remain at the church?
A.  Yes, she was.
Q.  Was sometime subsequent to that she asked to leave the church?
A.  Yes, she was.
Q.  Why was that? Why was she asked to leave the church?
A.  She was asked to leave because she began to divide the church with some antics that were questionable.
Q.  What specifically, what specific antics, as you have called them, did she engage in which caused you to
     ask her to leave Potters House?
A.  Well, she began to spread the tape, for one, to different members of the congregation. The straw that pretty
     much broke the camel's back, if I could use that slang, was when she approached one of our youth and was
     attempting to show the [sex] tape to one of the young people.
 

February 3, 2006

BY PUBLIC DEFENDER ARTHUR ETTINGER:

Q.  Please state your name, and spell it for the record.
A.  My name is Marie A. Johnson, M-a-r-i-e, J-o-h-n-s-o-n.
Q.  And do you know Charles Brown?
A.  Yes, I do.
Q.  How do you know him? How do you know Charles Brown?
A.  I know him from Potters House Ministries.
Q.  How long would you say you have known him?
A.  For about three years.
Q.  Do you know Faith Allen?
A.  Yes, I do as -- known as Lynn also.
Q.  You are you saying that -- what is the first name you knew Faith Allen by?
A.  I knew her as Lynn first.
Q.  Do you also know her as Faith Allen?
A.  Yes, I do.
Q.  Did she approach you at some point about an issue she was having with Charles Brown?
A.  Yes, she did.
Q.  And did she show you a videotape?
A.  Yes, she did.
Q.  And where did you watch this videotape?
A.  At my house.
Q.  And how was she acting as she showed you the videotape?
A.  She was laughing.
Q.  Did you discuss the contents of the videotape with her?
A.  No, because it was kind of messed up. She was laughing, and in certain parts, she kept cutting out, and when it got
     to certain parts, she would just laugh, and she said something about her taping it.
Q.  I asked her why did she tape it.
A.  She said because he is supposed to be my boyfriend, and I taped it.
Q.  Let me ask you some questions about that. Did you just say she said she wanted to make the tape because she
     wanted Charles to be her boyfriend?
A.  Yes, she did.
Q.  What else did she say about why she wanted to videotape?
A.  She said, back In March of 2004, he was trying to make her comfortable, because of all the things that she had been
     through. She would call me at nighttime, 2:00 In the morning, 3:00 in the morning. I would minister to her, but then
     after I prayed with her, she would stop crying. And when I'd say goodnight to her, I'm getting ready to hang up and go
     back to sleep, she would start crying then again. Then, I stopped the phone calls.
Q.  Did she say that she remembered what went on in the videotape?
A.  Yes, she did.
Q.  What exactly did she say to that effect?
A.  She said she remembered a lot of the parts, because she was just being comforted by him.
Q.  Did she use the word comfortable to describe how she felt at the time of the videotape?
A.  Yes, she did.
Q.  You have already testified that she said that she wanted Charles to be her boyfriend.
A.  Yes.
Q.  Did she say that she made the tape to have proof that he was with her?
A.  She said she made the tape just in case things didn't go right.

CROSS-EXAMINATION BY PROSECUTOR JANET R. NECESSARY:

Q.  Ms. Johnson, you and Faith were both members of the same congregation?
A.  Yes, ma'am.
Q.  You say she called you for help, for counseling?
A.  I would minister every time she called me. She called me 2:00, 3:00, 4:00 o'clock in the morning, saying dealing with
     her mom.
Q.  I'm asking, do you call her for counseling?
A.  Yes, she did.
Q.  Are you one of the designated counselors In the congregation or ministers?
A.  I'm an evangelist.
Q.  You are an evangelist?
A.  Yes, I am.
Q.  Okay. So she called you. She trusted you with her problems?
A.  No, she didn't. It was just how the spirit moved. I mean. . .
Q.  You are saying she didn't trust you with her intimate problems?
A.  I seen some things in her when I first -- When I first met her at Potters House, I started -- I met her. I introduced
     myself, and I got to know her on a one-an-one basis. She called me. I gave her my number. We switched numbers.
     I ministered to her. She tells me about problems, about the cult, her mom, baby, this, and that was it.
Q.  Did you tell her that she should report this to the leadership of the church?
A.  Well, what I seen, I put her out of my house. Uh-huh.
Q.  So you put her out of your house?
A.  Because she was laughing. She said she knew everything that was going on. She was not supposed to have been
     hypnotized, she said. Then she changed her story. I said, you contradict yourself. She touched me on the
     shoulder. I asked her to leave my house. I was really ready to go off on her, because I know Pastor - -
Q.  Did you report what you had seen to the leadership of the church?
A.  Yes, when I put her out of my house and told her I would definitely pray for her, that there was some things
     going on in her mind that was very sick.
Q.  Did you report Mr. Brown's conduct that you saw in the tape to the church?
A.  Yes, I did. I called another pastor at the time.
Q.  Did you report Mr. Brown's conduct that you saw in the tape to the church?
A.  I reported to -- I called a pastor and told her what was going on with Lynn. Yes. I called her pastor and told her, and
     the pastor called Lynn. She said that she wasn't at my house. She said she wasn't at my house. She wasn't at my
     house, sir, but she was at my house.
THE COURT: So you have information that the victim denied having even been at your house?
A.  But she was, because I seen her there.

REDIRECT EXAMINATION BY PUBLIC DEFENDER ARTHUR ETTINGER:

Q.  On cross-examination, you stated that Faith discussed with you issues about the cult and a baby, correct?
A.  Yes, sir.
Q.  What did she say in regards to this baby and the church?
A.  That she was going through changes In her mind about being in a cult. Her mom -- her making her kill her
     baby. And at nighttime, I would minister to her, but then several times after that, I stopped because she
     would keep calling me. She would cry out. Then she would stop crying. When I'm getting ready to go out of
     the phone, I get ready to hang up, she starts crying again.

THE COURT: There is no evidence that, in fact, the victim -- Defendant [Charles Brown] was the victim -- was drugged.

I thought the tests were negative. There was no evidence of any lab reports that would show that she was drugged.

Moreover, the tape, the part of the tape that I saw did not have a beginning, for example, as to when the Defendant got to her house or wherever this occurred, nor did it have an ending as to what occurred at the conclusion of this encounter.

I just saw some time period where there was touching, and there was contact, but the expert indicated that in fact she was not in a hypnotic state.

. . . . 

In this case, I have reviewed my notes from yesterday, as well as today. I have noted that the Commonwealth's theory all along has been that the victim was hypnotized to a state where she did not recall anything, and could not recall, and that during that period of time, period of that state of mind, if you will, that the Defendant had an indecent contact with her.

The victim set up a video camera expecting the Defendant to come to her house at a predetermined time. Counseling sessions between the Defendant, who was a pastor at the Defendant's church or, at the victim's church, rather, and the victim -- had been going on for several weeks.

The victim claimed that the Defendant was, in fact, hypnotizing her. The video was presented as evidence of the Defendant's contact with the victim during the counseling session, allegedly, again while under hypnosis.

The film doesn't show either the beginning nor the end of the incident or that session between the Defendant and the victim on the date in question. Chief Payne testified In this case, and he was called by Detective Trkula, and Detective Trkula is the Monroeville police officer who investigated this, and Detective Trkula contacted Chief Payne because of Chief Payne's area of expertise in the field of hypnotism.

Apparently, Chief Payne viewed the tape back in 2004 on one occasion. He was subpoenaed and observed the tape again in open court as it was played again.

He offered the expert opinion that, in fact, the victim was not under hypnosis. When asked, could she have been drugged, could she have been under the influence?

Perhaps she acted that way or appeared to be under the influence of something, but whether it was actually that or not, I don't know.

There is no evidence in this case that any alcohol was used or -- there was a drug test apparently made which indicated that the drug tests of the victim indicated no drugs.

I have considered the testimony of the victim, the testimony of the detective, Detective Trkula, the testimony of Chief Payne, and I find Chief Payne's testimony regarding the issue of hypnotism and the state of consciousness to be credible.

Also, I have considered the Defendant's witnesses who have testified, specifically Ms. Johnson, Marie Johnson. I considered the testimony of Jeffrey Swensen. I conferred all other factors which I may take into account, as well as the burden which the Plaintiff Commonwealth bears such as this.

For all those reasons, at 200500569, at Count One of this information, Count Two having previously been dismissed, I find the Defendant not guilty.

Sir, you're discharged with respect to this count in this case.

(Thereupon, the hearing concluded.)

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