A senior pastor who founded the Korean Presbyterian Church of
Auckland will be struck off the ministerial roll after an
internal church investigation found him guilty of sexual
misconduct and abuse.
Reverend David Ock-Youn Jang has been found guilty by the
Auckland Presbytery Complaints Hearing Committee for "gross
impropriety on three representative charges which relate to
sexual misconduct, and physical, verbal and emotional abuse
against a single complainant".
He denies any wrongdoing and says he has the backing of his
congregation to stay.
The complainant is a woman who is linked to the Presbyterian
church, the third largest Christian denomination in New
Some details of the complaint and judgment cannot be reported
for legal reasons.
In a statement, the church said Mr Jang would be formally
deposed this Sunday and "will no longer be able to refer to
himself as a Presbyterian minister".
"The congregation will be notified of Rev Jang being deposed
... [they have] been aware of the situation concerning Rev
Jang since September 2006."
After the release of the committee's findings, Northern
Presbytery clerk Alex Robinson said: "This man has fallen
well short of the standards expected of a minister in the
Presbyterian Church and we're shocked and saddened by what
"We are working within the boundaries of the law to expedite
Jang's removal from his ministerial office, and are also
taking steps to ensure that he will not be able to practise
as a minister in any other countries or for any other
Mr Robinson said restrictions had been put in place to limit
Mr Jang's ministry since the church was first informed of the
complaints in 2006.
"We've taken steps to keep the congregation safe while the
matter was being considered by the church courts, including
advising the congregation in September 2006 that serious
charges of misconduct have been laid against their minister."
But Mr Jang told the Herald he had the backing of his
congregation to remain as senior pastor and the parish
council was seeking an appeal through the church's general
Mr Jang was ordained as a minister by the Presbyterian Church
of Korea in 1975 and founded the first Korean Presbyterian
Church in New Zealand when he moved here in 1989.
Mr Jang is also president of the Southern Cross Christian TV
and has a weekly evangelism programme on a local Korean
Mr Jang said: "I am prepared to go, but my congregation wants
me to stay." He said that since 2011 he had been practising
as a minister of the Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad and
did not consider himself to be under the jurisdiction of the
local Presbyterian order.
Shane Shin, a parish council member and church elder of the
Henderson church, said the senior pastor had "the backing of
his entire flock".
"We feel the judgment against him is unfair, and the parish
council is doing all we can to see how we can keep him here
as our spiritual leader," Mr Shin said.
About 200 signed a petition to have him reinstated in 2008
after he was stood down because of the investigation.
Mr Jang's son, Nathan, who is the congregation's spokesman,
said there were major concerns over how the church had
conducted its investigations and hearing. "The entire
congregation does not accept the guilty findings of the
church on Rev Jang," said Nathan Jang.
- Lincoln Tan of the New Zealand Herald