Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco minister says colleagues put Satan on his Facebook page and mocked his faith

NEW PORT RICHEY — In the fall of 2009, Matthew Sherwood decided he wanted to become a Pentecostal minister. He took a demotion from lead technician at One Call Locators, a utilities locating service in Pinellas County, so he could focus on his studies.

This is when his life became hell — beginning with taunts and ending with hackers turning his Facebook page into a satanic tribute, according to a lawsuit Sherwood, 30, recently filed in Pinellas County against One Call Locators, former co-worker Ronald Jay Wilkinson, 47, and boss Matthew Masi, 30.

Sherwood claims the two men frequently told him:

"Your God is a joke."

"Your Jesus was hung on a cross, that's garbage."

"Christianity and Jesus are fake."

They — for some reason — also took to calling Sherwood a "holy roller turkey caller," court documents state.

Neither Sherwood, of New Port Richey, nor Masi, of St. Petersburg, returned phone calls for this story. Wilkinson, of Hudson, could not be reached.

One Call Locators did not respond for comment.

Sherwood's lawsuit claims both Masi and Wilkinson told him he couldn't do his job and be a minister at the same time. They told him he was "weak for believing in a fairy tale," the suit says.

It got worse.

Sherwood said Wilkinson went through the effort of downloading, copying and delivering to him two DVDs of anti-Christian films. Sherwood said he complained to Masi — their boss — but Masi did nothing.

"Maybe Jay is right," Sherwood says Masi told him.

"Think about it."

The harassment continued to escalate, said Sherwood, who was living at First Assembly of God in New Port Richey. The church's website says Sherwood and his wife, Pam, are on staff as singles pastors. In the suit, Sherwood claims the two men pulled a prank on him by sneaking onto church property, breaking the lock on Sherwood's truck and stealing his work equipment — only later to accuse Sherwood of stealing the equipment himself. When Sherwood insisted on calling the police, the two admitted they did it and said they wanted to teach him a lesson, the documents state.

The bullying spilled onto the Internet. Someone changed Sherwood's Facebook page to read that Sherwood was an atheist and Satan-lover.

His bio said:

"Satan is King. All hail Satan!!! Officially, I am a Satanist... more so I believe in nothing... just myself..."

His favorite books were changed to:

"I, Lucifer."

"The Lucifer Effect."

"The Fall of Lucifer."


"666 Satan."

"Satanic Bible."

"The Satanic Verses."

Sherwood heard about the changes from church members, who brought their concerns to the church's senior pastor, the court documents state.

Sherwood claims Wilkinson was the one who put the devil on his Facebook page.

The passwords and security questions had been changed, so it "took a substantial amount of time before Plaintiff was able to convince the authorities at Facebook to remove the page," the lawsuit reads.

After that page was finally removed, another satanic one popped up, Sherwood states.

Because of these "false and defamatory statements, Plaintiff suffered damage personally and to his reputation within his church and community," the documents state.

Sherwood, who has since quit working for One Call Locators, is asking for damages in excess of $15,000 for defamation, invasion of privacy and emotional distress.

He said the bullying caused him:

Mental pain.




Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.

Loss of dignity.

"The Plaintiff demands a trial by jury," the lawsuit states.

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 869-6229.

Pasco minister says colleagues put Satan on his Facebook page and mocked his faith 12/18/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 18, 2010 12:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. How many more people would lack coverage under Cassidy-Graham? We can guess


    WASHINGTON — It's safe to say the new Obamacare rollback measure toward which the Senate is charging would mean fewer Americans have health coverage. Exactly how many is unclear. Some argue it could be more than 22 million people. Others say it could be fewer.

  3. Woman's decomposed body found near St. Petersburg railroad tracks


    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman's body was found near the railway tracks behind an empty building at 3100 38th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.

  4. Warehouse burns on Tampa's east side


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County emergency crews are at the scene of a two-alarm fire at a warehouse near 56th Street and East Hillsborough Avenue.

    Hillsborough County firefighters battle a blaze Thursday night at a warehouse on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  5. 'Dream big' drives Lightning's Conacher brothers

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.

    Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher (89) on the ice during Lightning training camp in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17).