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	Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Middletown, Pa. is being criticized for staging a mock kidnapping of youth group without informing parents.<br /><br /><br /><br />


A Pennsylvania church trying to toughen-up their young missionaries staged a  mock kidnapping where they blindfolded youth group members, shoved them in a  van, and subjected them to harsh interrogations.

But nobody warned the kids’ parents they were pulling this stunt. And now John  Lanza, pastor of the Glad Tidings Assembly of God in Middletown, Pa., is in  hot water with members of his flock after one parent complained — and is under  investigation by police.

“It’s extremely disturbing,” Dauphin County First Deputy District Attorney  Fran Chardo told WHTM—TV. The 14-year-old girl who complained to authorities described how she and 16  other teens were suddenly pounced on by the “kidnappers.” “They pulled my chair out from underneath me, and then they told me to get on the ground,” she told the TV station. “I had my hands behind my back. They said, ‘Just do as I say, and you won’t be hurt.”’

Then, she said, they were taken to Lanza’s house where they were forced to  endure a second shock — seeing their pastor being seemingly attacked by  intruders.

Eventually, she said, their captors admitted it was all staged. “They heard me crying,” the girl said. “Why not right then and there tell us  it was a joke, when you see me crying?” Lanza defended the mock kidnappings, which involved an off-duty police  officer and a retired Army captain, and that they’d done this twice before. “It was a youth event, to illustrate what others have encountered on a  regular basis,” said Lanza.

But the motorcycle-riding church leader admitted they never warned the  parents of the 17 kids they were pulling this stunt. Lanza said he “would love to” apologize to the girl and her mother but can’t  until the police investigation is done. He also said he’s tinkering with his “shock” program. “I would find a way that we could continue to keep the shock value, but I  would find a way to inform the parents” ahead of time, the pastor said.