Now Eric Dammann Is Asking His Current Congregation For Forgiveness

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A video of a New Jersey pastor admitting to punching a boy for “not taking the Lord serious” has gone viral.

During a sermon last July, Pastor Eric Dammann told his congregation he punched a “smart aleck” named “Ben” in the chest at a youth group 13 years ago when he was at Calvary Church in upstate Warwick,  New York.

“He was just trying to push my buttons, and he was kind of not taking the Lord serious and I walked over to him and I went bam!” Dammann says on the video, which was posted to YouTube. “I punched him in the chest as hard as I … I crumpled the kid.”

“I leaned over and I said, ‘Ben, when are you going to stop playing games with God?’ I led that man to the Lord right there,” Dammann adds on the clip.

The video has been viewed more than 1.8 million times since it was uploaded last month.

Two parishioners at Bible Baptist Church in Hasbrouck Heights said Dammann has already apologized and they feel he did nothing wrong, 1010 WINS Glen Schuck reported Monday.

Dammann told the New York Daily News, “The viral clip does not show the whole sermon, where I say what I did was wrong.”

In a statement the pastor said he deeply regrets his actions of 13 years ago.

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

The pastor’s home is behind the church. Neighbor Maryanne Saluppo told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Monday that her children play with the pastor’s kids and she has never seen any signs of aggression or alarming disciplinary actions.

“He’s always polite, he’s courteous, helpful, a very nice man,” Saluppo said.

She admitted to not having heard his sermon.

“I’m not sure about his preaching. I haven’t been to the church since he has been there. I have been there prior but not since he’s been there,” Saluppo said.

The pastor asked for forgiveness, saying “I was forgiven by Ben many years ago and can only ask the same from my church, community and the world.”

Many of Dammann’s neighbors said they haven’t had a chance to get to know the pastor as he moved in about a year or so ago. The online community has continued to react to the viral video, Baker reported.

The Bible Baptist Church said all regularly scheduled actives and Mass on Sunday will continue with Pastor Dammann.

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