E. Scott Martin, Chi Alpha’s national director, resigns in aftermath of abuse scandal

Chi Alpha Director E. Scott Martin has resigned.
Chi Alpha Director E. Scott Martin has resigned. | YouTube/ A Rock Stuck In The Dirt

E. Scott Martin, the national director of Chi Alpha, a college ministry present on 300 campuses globally with the support of the Assemblies of God, has resigned months after the ministry was accused of enabling Daniel Savala, a 67-year-old itinerant minister and convicted sex offender, to prey on scores of young males for more than two decades.

Martin's assistant confirmed with The Christian Post that his resignation was effective on Monday but didn't provide a reason for the resignation.

When asked why Martin resigned, the Assemblies of God noted in a statement to CP that "we cannot provide comment on personnel matters."

The Pentecostal denomination pointed to its most recent statement on the Chi Alpha controversy.

"We are heartbroken to hear allegations related to Daniel Savala and the pain his reported actions caused. The Assemblies of God stands in strong opposition to the teachings and practices he followed," the denomination said. "While he did not hold credentials with the Assemblies of God and was never on staff with any Chi Alpha campus ministry, The General Council of the Assemblies of God takes matters of this nature seriously and will do everything we can to help."

Daniel Savala, 67.
Daniel Savala, 67. | Police photo

In June, Savala was arrested in Waco for allegedly sexually abusing the minor sons of one of his protégés in the ministry.

Savala, according to KWTX, was identified as the "spiritual mentor" of Christopher Hundl, 38, the former leader of Chi Alpha's ministry at Baylor University, who was charged with allowing the itinerant leader to sexually abuse two of his family members later revealed to be his sons.

According to the arrest warrant, Hundl allegedly brought the two boys to Savala's Houston home several times between the summer of 2021 and March 2022. Texas' sex offender registry records show that Savala was charged in 2012 for sexual abuse of a minor, a third-degree felony, which he committed in Alaska between 1995 and 1997.

While in a sauna with Hundl and the boys, who were younger than 14 when the abuse happened, Savala allegedly instructed the boys to masturbate in front of the adult men. It is alleged that similar activity also took place in Hundl's home. The arrest records state that Savala also touched the boys inappropriately in Hundl's presence.

Hundl, who is married, told officers that he met Savala while in college and was involved in a sexual relationship. Savala, he told police, acted as a "grandfather" to the two boys.

In October, Savala was also charged with sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by sexual contact by the Houston Police Department, the Waco Tribune Herald reported.

In this case, a man told police in Houston, Texas, that Savala sexually assaulted him multiple times in 2005 when he was 16 years old. He alleges that a Sam Houston State University Chi Alpha youth pastor introduced him to Savala at his then-home in Houston. After he got his driver's license, he began visiting Savala twice per month for two years and the abuse took place during that period.

He said on his first visit, Savala asked him about masturbation and pornography and became increasingly explicit during his visits. Savala reportedly then encouraged the then-teen to get naked with him, citing the biblical quote "naked and unashamed."

Once he removed his clothes, Savala, among other things, touched his genitals. During other visits, the victim alleged Savala performed oral sex on him and asked him to reciprocate.

According to its most recent statement on the scandal, the Assemblies of God warned National Chi Alpha leaders about Savala as far back as 2018.

"When a report first surfaced to the General Council and National Chi Alpha in 2018 of Mr. Savala's proximity to certain local Texas Chi Alpha groups, the appropriate districts with which these campuses are affiliated were notified," the denomination said.

"National Chi Alpha, which serves as a resource for locally operated chapters, made relevant Chi Alpha leaders aware of his status and warned them to cease contact and not permit students or leaders to be around him."

It was further noted that when Assemblies of God officials first heard about the reports of sexual contact with college students at Chi Alpha campuses in Texas in April 2023, they launched "district and local investigations into the various allegations."

Some Assemblies of God ministers have called on denominational leaders to repent and, where appropriate, resign.

Pastor J.R. Armstrong of MAG Church in Orange, Texas, who has criticized Assemblies of God General Superintendent Doug Clay for making comments that he believes appear to minimize the abuse Savala is accused of perpetuating, called for ministers connected to the ministry to step down.

"On Friday, Aug. 4, on the closing session of business at the General Counsel of the Assemblies of God, General Superintendent Doug Clay went on record with a statement concerning Chi Alpha Ministries. In his statement, Rev. Clay called attention to the ministry of Chi Alpha without presenting the dozens, if not hundreds, of victims of sexual and spiritual abuse as a spectrum in ministry lines, which in and of itself, [is] moral relativism at its worst," Armstrong said in an impassioned address from the pulpit of his church on Aug. 13.

"Hundreds of victims of sexual abuse are not a spot on a spectrum," Armstrong said. "I, as an ordained minister in good standing with the Assemblies of God, call on Doug Clay, Donna Barrett, E. Scott Martin, Tim Barker, Don Wiehe, Gaylan Claunch, and others to speak up, take responsibility, and where necessary, to resign. And with some, that will be necessary."

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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