The Rev. Dr. Amy Butler, the first female lead pastor at Manhattan’s Riverside Church has been removed from her position after the prominent anti-Trump, #MeToo leader was named in a sexual harassment complaint after she bought brought ministers and at least one congregant on a sex toy shopping spree and even gave one of them an unwanted vibrator as a birthday gift, according to The New York Post.
“On May 15, Butler allegedly took two Riverside assistant ministers and a female congregant to a sex shop in Minneapolis called the Smitten Kitten, during a religious conference, according to sources familiar with the out-of-town shopping excursion,” the Post reported.
“At the store, the pastor bought a $200 bunny-shaped blue vibrator called a Beaded Rabbit for one minister — a single mom of two who was celebrating her 40th birthday — as well as more pleasure gadgets for the congregant and herself, sources said.”
The woman, a female minister under Butler, reportedly did not want the toy, but accepted it out of acquiescence to her position, according to the Post, and the head minister went on to try and convince a gay man who was in a relationship to accept a second toy, something he declined.
“Butler, who is known as ‘Pastor Amy,’ and the others were visiting Minneapolis for the 27th annual Festival of Homiletics, a week-long conference at which the 49-year-old pastor presided over the closing worship service,” the Post reported.
“Neither assistant minister wanted to go to the raunchy store and the male minister repeatedly told Butler they were uncomfortable. Butler said they didn’t have to go, but they ‘felt pressured’ and feared professional retaliation, sources said.”
In a further disturbing twist to the story, Butler reportedly “pulled out the church credit card” and jokingly asked those she was with, “Is this a church business expense?” though it is unclear if she went on to use the card.
While several other issues were noted by the church as reasons that they parted ways with “Pastor Amy,” the sex-toy incident was reportedly one of “several concerns that the Riverside Church Council had about Amy’s judgement.”