NJ Pastor Who Boasted About Punching Teen: “I Deeply Regret My Actions”

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A Baptist pastor in New Jersey says he regrets his actions after video was posted online showing him boasting about punching a teen in the chest for “not taking the Lord serious.”

The Rev. Eric Dammann, a pastor at Bible Baptist Church in Hasbrouck Heights, admitted punching the teen in a statement to NBC 4 New York that said, “My actions were not reflective of Christ and the teachings of the Bible.”

“I do not condone abuse in any form,” Dammann said. "I chose a very poor example from my past and very poor wording to describe it and deeply regret using it."

The statement comes about a month after video was posted to YouTube showing Dammann on a church pulpit recounting a time when he punched a boy named Ben for being a “smart aleck.” The video has been viewed more than 2 million times.

The clip, which was initially posted by the church but was later removed and then re-posted by another YouTube user, shows Dammann reenacting his encounter with Ben and motioning a hard blow.

“I walked over to him and went, ‘Bam!’” Dammann says in the clip. “Punched him in the chest as hard as I could. I crumpled the kid. I just crumpled him."

In his statement, Dammann said he punched the child 13 years ago. He said Ben forgave him many years ago.

Now, he says he is asking his church and community to forgive him as well.

“By viewing the clip it is certainly understandable how outraged people are,” he said.

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