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Former Survivor Contestant, Megachurch Pastor, and Christian School Headmaster Charged With Cruelty to Juveniles

Lakeside Christian Academy
Screengrab via Facebook @Slidell Police Department

Louisiana megachurch pastor, headmaster for Lakeside Christian Academy, and former Survivor contestant John Raymond was arrested on April 7,2022 and charged with three counts of cruelty to juveniles.

The Department of Children and Family Services issued a complaint about a potential child abuse situation at Lakeside Christian Academy to the Slidell Police Department regarding their headmaster and New Horizon Church’s senior pastor. Lakeside Christian Academy is a ministry of New Horizon Church.

The complaint stated that Raymond disciplined multiple students by taping their mouths shut because they wouldn’t stop talking in class.

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Slidell Police Department stated that after conducting interviews with students, parents, and faculty from the school, they presented their “findings in a warrant” that was signed by a 22nd judicial judge on the morning of April 7, 2022.

The pastor willingly turned himself into the Slidell Police Department that same day, and he was charged with three counts of cruelty, which is “to cause unjustifiable pain or suffering to children under the age of 17.”

Three days after his arrest, Raymond posted a statement on Lakeside Christian Academy’s website. The headmaster shared a quote from his mother: “Truth out of context is a lie, and half-truths are worse than lies; but in the absence of the truth, people will believe anything.” He then shared his complete recollection of what happened that day.

Raymond, who lasted three days on CBS’ popular reality show Survivor: Thailand, explained that the incident in question took place on March 17, 2022. The school’s seventh grade teacher was so distraught that she wanted to quit because of students’ repeatedly disruptive behavior.

Having visited the seventh grade classroom multiple times throughout the school year, Raymond said that the disruptive behavior originated from a small group of students “who consistently showed complete disregard for the teacher’s authority.”

The teacher, who had been crying and was visibly shaken by latest incident, told Raymond the students’ excessive talking was such a disruption that she was unable to teach.

One student in that group was given a disciplinary write-up, wherein the teacher recounted the student telling her “I’m not going to let any teacher talk to me like that” after being told to quiet down. That student hasn’t returned to school since receiving the disciplinary write-up.

The incident involving the Cruelty to Juveniles charges happened after three of those students were sent to the office for repeatedly talking in class. “The principal told me that, as headmaster and disciplinarian, I had to do something about the students that were creating such a disturbance that the teacher was unable to teach,” Raymond said.

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Raymond spoke to the teacher and took the students to an upstairs hallway, explaining to them that the school was “not going to tolerate this continued disruptive behavior for the rest of the school year.”