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Summit County televangelist Ernest Angley dies at 99

The pastor gained millions of supporters during his life, but also garnered a great deal of controversy.

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio — *EDITOR'S NOTE: The video in the player above originally aired back in 2018

Ernest Angley, the charismatic but controversial pastor whose televangelism once reached households across the globe, has died at the age of 99.

Angely's ministry confirmed his death with the following statement on its website:

"Pastor, evangelist and author Rev. Ernest Angley has gone to Heaven to be with his Lord and Master at 99. He touched multitudes of souls worldwide with the pure Word of God confirmed with signs, wonders, miracles and healings. He truly pleased God in all things. Check Ernest Angley Ministries website for all updates."

Though he was born and raised in North Carolina, Angley planted his roots in Summit County, where they ended up opening the first iteration of Grace Cathedral in Springfield Township. In 1984, he purchased Cuyahoga Falls' Cathedral of Tomorrow and re-branded it as the new Grace Cathedral, and the facility included a massive Pentecostal Christian church, the studios for WBNX-TV, and other companies that leased space.

Angely's preaching soon became known throughout the region and the United States, with his sermons often broadcast to millions of people. He became one of world's leading televangelists, and the ministry made so much money that he was even able to afford his own private jumbo jet.

Credit: Ernest Angley Ministries
Longtime Northeast Ohio pastor Ernest Angley.

But Angley's prominence began to fade in later years, first after a murder at his Cathedral Buffet restaurant and later following comments he made claiming Jesus Christ could cure HIV/AIDS. However, the biggest blow to his reputation first came to light in 2014, when the Akron Beacan Journal detailed allegations of intimidation and sexual abuse by Angley and others at the church.

Angley vehemently denied the allegations, but four years later, former pastor Brock Miller spoke to both the Beacon Journal and 3News about allegations Angley had sexually abused him for 10 years while he worked at the cathedral. In various interviews, it was claimed Angley instructed Miller to masturbate in front of him and later gave Miller multiple "special massages" while the latter was naked.

"The first time this happened, I'm just thinking, like, 'This is a bad dream,'" Miller recalled to our own Phil Trexler and Amani Abraham. "I'm just praying, 'God, just let this stop. Just get me through this. Like, I['ve] just got to endure this, get through it and everything will be fine.'"

Although he himself had long publicly condemned homosexuality as a "sin," the Beacon Journal later caught Angley on tape admitting to sexual encounters with another man in 1996. Miller filed a lawsuit against the pastor, and the two eventually reached a confidential settlement.

Watch Jim Donovan's 2019 interview with the reporter who obtained the tape:

Besides the sexual misconduct inquiries, Angley was also alleged to have encouraged and pressured the women in his congregation to have abortions, and the men to have vasectomies. Additionally, the federal government accused Angley in 2017 of not paying workers at the Cathedral Buffet, and while a court later ruled in his favor, he shut the restaurant down that year.

Angley was preceded in death by his wife, Esther, and had no children. Funeral arrangements have not been made public.