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Bible College or Forced Labor Camp? Pastor Accused of Luring International Students for Unpaid Work

A South Carolina pastor has been charged with luring international students to his Bible college and then forcing them into slave labor.

Reginald Wayne Miller, the president of Cathedral Bible College in Marion, was arrested late last week on charges that he violated federal labor laws by exploiting foreign students and forcing them to work for little or no pay.

According to investigators, the students, who came to the country with the promise of a Christian education, were instead given substandard living conditions, expired food to eat and were regularly threatened by Miller with a visit from INS.

Interviewed students “described a pervasive climate of fear in which their legal status as non-immigrant students was in constant jeopardy, at the sole discretion of Dr. Miller, who threatened expulsion and therefore termination of their legal presence in the United States for noncompliance with his demands,” the federal complaint read.

Students also said the promised Bible classes, which range from undergraduate to doctoral level courses, were not real and instead of an education, students were forced to work long hours both on-campus and at Miller’s personal residence, many earning as little as $25 a week for their efforts.

Interestingly enough, despite calling for young people “to surrender their lives in service to Christ” through attending and working on his campus, it appears Miller has his own demons in recent years.

In 2006, the Bible school president was charged with lewdness and prostitution after he exposed himself to an undercover police officer in Florida.

Despite that criminal offense, Miller, who founded the school in 1974, remained in charge of the Bible college, even overseeing an expansion on to its current campus in order to recruit more students eligible for training through their program sponsored by Veterans Affairs.

The South Carolina Bible college  has not yet responded to Miller’s most recent arrest.

Photo Credit: CBC

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About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.