BARTLESVILLE, Okla. The Voice of the Martyrs executive director, Tom White, died April 18 in what is now being called a possible suicide.
White, 65, was found dead in a warehouse at the ministry’s headquarters in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, according to Tulsa CBS affiliate 6NewsOn6.com.
Bartlesville police had earlier opened an investigation of molestation charges against White, according to court records. Tulsa World said that police records indicate that a note was found in his vehicle.
White had led VOM, a ministry that helps support the persecuted Church, for more than 30 years. During the last 20 years he served as executive director.
The leadership at VOM said that they were “not aware of any allegations at the time of White’s death.”
“Allegations were made to authorities this week that Tom had inappropriate contact with a young girl. Rather than face those allegations, and all of the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry and himself, Tom appears to have chosen to take his own life,” read a statement posted on VOM’s website.
“We are deeply saddened by these events. Our hearts are broken. However, the work that God has called VOM to do is bigger than any one of us. There are persecuted Christians who need our help. The legal process will go forward, and we will continue serving with our persecuted brothers and sisters.
“We appreciate the many who are praying for our work, and we encourage you to join us in praying for Tom’s family during this difficult time.”
White’s book, God’s Missiles over Cuba, helped launch him to prominence in the ministry. The book told the story of his arrest by Cuban authorities in May 1979 and sentencing to 24 years in prison for his evangelistic work. After serving 17 months in Combinado del Este Prison, Cuba, he was released.
VOM states that it will release more information in response to White’s death.
"All of our hearts are heavy at this loss, and most of all heavy for Ofelia, Tom's loyal help-mate through years of ministry... and for his children and grandchildren," VOM said.