Longform

The Reverend Freak

Page 5 of 8

That afternoon, while Buchanan went birthday shopping with her mom, the bishop called a couple of times. Could she meet him at the Wendy's off Trinity Boulevard and Highway 360 at about 9 p.m.? Sure, Bishop. She heard his kids in the background. She figured they'd be there.

Before meeting Hornbuckle, Buchanan--who would tell the court she was a lesbian--dropped off her girlfriend, Alicia, at a strip club called Tomcats and headed to Wendy's. She got a burger and waited in her car. She expected to see the bishop pull up in his Escalade. Instead, it was a rental car--a silver Galant. People might be following him, he said. Then he told her he'd left his checkbook at his "homeboy's" place, and they had to go get it. Get in, he urged. She complied. After all, he's the bishop.

Almost immediately the public face of Bishop Hornbuckle vanished. "I'm a real nigga," he told her.

"Behind the scenes," Hornbuckle told Buchanan, "I like the licky-lick." She took it to mean oral sex and didn't respond. Hornbuckle quickly changed the subject, saying, "I'm just trying to be real with you."

Hornbuckle stopped at a liquor store, but it was closed. It seemed like they were driving forever, she thought, and she didn't recognize the streets. Finally, they arrived at a one-story apartment complex. It was dark, but Buchanan said she'd wait in the car. It wasn't safe, the bishop told her--come inside. Again she complied.

Hornbuckle carried two bags into the apartment--a duffel bag and a small, black rectangular satchel. Buchanan sat on the sofa, and Hornbuckle grabbed a bottle of water for her in the kitchen. Then, he started talking about the punch.

"My homeboy made some punch the other night," he said, heading back to the refrigerator, out of Buchanan's sight. He came back, handed the drink to her and began the emotional probing. He clutched her hand. Had her family "been struggling"? No, they hadn't, she told him. They were fine.

Over the next several minutes, Buchanan testified that Hornbuckle would go in and out of the bathroom and in and out of the house, answering his cell phone. He kept a close watch on that black bag, and Krystal took a few sips of the punch. She claims it tasted "bitter."

Hornbuckle asked if she felt buzzed yet. She said she didn't. But soon she began to feel tired, like she couldn't move. Hornbuckle went to the kitchen, fiddling in his little black bag, and she wandered around the apartment into the bedroom. The last thing she remembers is hearing a phone ring.

Her next memory was of a presence lifting off of her. She looked up to see a naked Hornbuckle run into the bathroom. She realized she was on the bed with no clothes on. Still woozy, she managed to stand and find her clothes on the side of the bed. She tried to get dressed again, but just then Hornbuckle emerged from the bathroom.

"I'm not done," he said. He grabbed her wrist and guided her back down on the bed. She was having trouble focusing. She felt what she would later describe as the feeling of a tampon being inserted too far into her vagina. She tried to push him off, and he jumped up. As she got up again to get dressed, she says she saw him masturbating.

Before they left the apartment, she said, he asked her to blow out the candles he'd lit on the bedside table. This time she refused.

The Prophecy

Renee Hornbuckle could preach, but she could also prophesy. Once, she did just that to Traci Williams, a bleach-blond, caramel-skinned woman with a nose ring. It would be Williams' mission to break something big, Renee told her. It took a long time for Williams to grasp the import of Renee's prophecy. Today its meaning seems obvious to her.

"You are going to confront or uncover something," Williams said she was told, not long after she and her husband Tony joined Agape Christian Fellowship in 1997. She was going through a rough time at work and had asked to talk to the pastors about it. The prophecy must be about her job, she thought. But then she saw visions that led her to believe otherwise.

One day as she was leaving the church with her family, she says, she looked back and saw a vision of all the people in the building tied down with chains.

She saw church elders standing at the door, bound to the ground. She asked her mother about the vision. "These people are in jeopardy of their salvation," her mother explained.

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Andrea Grimes
Contact: Andrea Grimes
Stephanie Morris