Arthur J. Hershberger

Virginia Mennonite minister and leader convicted of child sex abuse

Arthur “Art” Hershberger (b. 1954) pleaded guilty in 2011 to three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child under the age of fifteen, for offenses occurring between September 2010 and May 2011. He was sentenced to five years in jail for each count, to run consecutively, but as part of a plea deal, the jail time was reduced to a total of two months, followed by three years of supervised probation.

During the time he was sexually abusing, Hershberger was the administrative secretary of the Biblical Mennonite Alliance (BMA), a church overseer of BMA churches in Virginia, a leader, and the pastor of Oak Hill Mennonite Church in Cumberland, Virginia. Hershberger was also a featured speaker at the 2010 BMA annual convention.

In 2019, MAP sent BMA leaders and Oak Hill Mennonite Church leaders formal requests for documentation, including documentation of the process of learning about the abuse allegations, as well as the response to victims, the church, and the public. The letters also requested the current status of Hershberger’s ministerial credentials as well as a list of his current church leadership roles.

BMA sent a letter to MAP stating that “no one within BMA leadership had any knowledge of the events prior to the breaking news” and listed actions BMA took in response to the news. The statement says Hershberger’s credentials were removed by the Ministerial Body of the Alliance and that he holds no positions within any BMA churches.

MAP requested documentation of the actions listed in BMA’s response, such as statements made to the church laity or the public, as well as a copy of BMA’s policy for handling cases of sexual misconduct. BMA Moderator J. Mark Horst responded saying that the denomination would provide no further documentation to MAP and that BMA has chosen not to make public its policy for sexual misconduct.

As of 2024, Hershberger is listed on the Virginia state sex offender registry as an employee at Choice Books, an Anabaptist-affiliated organization.

Church-related positions

  • Pastor at Oak Hill Mennonite Church, Cumberland, Virginia
  • Church overseer in Virginia for the Biblical Mennonite Alliance
  • Chairman of the Library Sub-committee for Elnora Bible Institute, Elnora, Indiana
  • Administrative Secretary of the Biblical Mennonite Alliance
  • Speaker at the Biblical Mennonite Alliance 2010 Convention
  • Choice Books, Bristow, Virginia

Documentation

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