Broward County

Founder of Florida’s biggest megachurch accused of molesting a 4-year-old girl

Pastor Robert Coy, leading a service at Calvary Chapel in Pompano Beach, in April 1996.
Pastor Robert Coy, leading a service at Calvary Chapel in Pompano Beach, in April 1996. Miami Herald File

Pastor Robert Coy, the former Las Vegas casino entertainment director turned religious leader for one of Florida’s biggest megachurches, has been accused of molesting a 4-year-old girl.

Coy, who resigned from Calvary Chapel in April 2014 under circumstances that church leaders then called a “moral failing,” was named to police in 2015 as the man who molested the child, according to police reports first reported Tuesday in Miami New Times.

Coy has not been charged.

In 2015, a California woman called Coral Springs police when she learned of the alleged longtime abuse of her daughter by Coy while he was at Calvary. According to the police report, the woman’s daughter, then in her teens, confirmed the account to police.

Coy, the victim told police, forced her to perform oral sex, inappropriately touched her and had her touch his penis. The abuse stopped when she hit her teen years, she said. She reportedly did not tell her family at the time the incidents were occurring.

In April 2016, the victim of the alleged molestation showed up in the lobby of the Coral Springs police department and said she “had an experience with God and has found forgiveness,” according to the police report. She told police she was about to go on a mission trip and asked to destroy all records of her initial report.

The police said they cannot destroy records, and she left, according to the report.

Coy, the “superstar preacher,” who founded the Fort Lauderdale church with his then-wife Diane in 1985, built a 75-acre site on Cypress Creek Road into a franchise with nine Florida locations — from the Keys to Naples — and a flock topping 20,000 worshipers.

Coy, who became a record promoter for Capitol Records after high school, told the Miami Herald in 2000 that he began to “medicate” with cocaine and alcohol when the fast-paced, rock music lifestyle proved overwhelming. “In the rock ’n’ roll scene, you meet people of power and influence and wealth, and they have the same kind of problems everybody else has,” he said.

By 22, he took a job at the Jolly Trolley, a Las Vegas casino with an all-girl revue. That, too, only led to “pseudo happiness.”

In the mid-’80s he found religion, married his wife, with whom he had two children, and became a pastor.

Calvary became a contemporary church under Coy’s personality-driven lead. “There are pages in my Bible I wish weren’t in there, because some sins are fun. But they’re only fun for a season,” he told the Herald in 2000.

Coy parted with Calvary in 2014 after allegations of sexual improprieties surfaced. Another pastor, during a service two weeks after his departure, said Coy “committed adultery” and “committed sexual immorality, habitually, through pornography,” according to a 2014 Sun Sentinel story.

Calvary attendee Debbie Polcino, a former wife of a preacher herself, said she wasn’t surprised by the 2014 revelations of adultery, and they didn’t change her opinion that Coy is “an anointed man.”

“You really felt like you were sitting there and he was talking directly to you,” she said. “Everyone loved him.”

The Herald called Calvary communication director Michael Miller for comment on these allegations. He hasn’t returned the calls. In a statement to New Times, Miller said: “We learned of this report after it was disclosed and reported to the appropriate authorities. We take every allegation seriously, and our prayers are with the Coy family as they pursue redemption and healing.”

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