Tag Archives: SBC Pastor Leslie Mason


I love how Christians feel they have a right to talk about us atheists and all the supposed evil things we do because we do not believe in their God and Jesus Christ, or how we atheists cannot have any morals because we do not proclaim ourselves Christians.

Yet? Here is part three of the Southern Baptist Convention pedophiles. 20 more disgusting, degenerate, perverted pedophiles and sex perverts, all minsters, youth pastors, pastors and deacons of the Southern Baptist Churches. All of them, leaders of their churches, who are actually? Supposed to be the most moral of all Christians, raping children. I would challenge ANY Christian to find even one tenth of all the pedophiles I have exposed on this blog proclaiming themselves Christians, of atheists. I got Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Southern Baptist, American Baptist, Methodist, and many other denominations of Christianity, their priests, pastors, ministers, teachers, deacons, youth pastors, etc, all busted for raping children. And these are just the ones who have been busted and gotten jury trials and been mostly put in prison. These lists and postings do not include all the scumbag priests and pastors of Christianity who have been busted for raping children, but got away with their crimes due to their hiding behind either the statutes of limitations or sovereign immunity laws.

But once again? Here are 20 more disgusting pedo perverts of the Southern Baptist Convention, taken from Abuse of Faith; Database



Yes, there is a cure for Christian pedophiles. If Christians can demand a brutal death penalty for lgbts based on their buybulls? Then we can demand that ALL Christian pedophiles should be put to brutal deaths.
Yes, there is a cure for Christian pedophiles. If Christians can demand a brutal death penalty for lgbts based on their buybulls? Then we can demand that ALL Christian pedophiles should be put to brutal deaths.

James Preston Tyndall Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Alamance County, 2000
Outcome: Registered sex offender in North Carolina with eight felony convictions, including first-degree sex offenses with a child under 13 years old and indecent liberties with a minor. He served 16 years of a 20-year sentence before being released on July 12, 2016. His victim was 7 years old.

Convicted of 5 Counts of Sex Offense 1st Degree with a Child Under 13 Victim age 7.
Convicted of 3 Counts Indecent Liberty with a Minor Victim age 7.

A former Burlington pastor charged with sex crimes has left his Danville, Va., church after reportedly admitting to deacons there that he acted inappropriately with a child.
Many members of the Danville church pastored by the Rev. James Preston Tyndall were shocked Sunday to learn that he had been charged with six felony sex crimes Thursday and had resigned Friday evening.
“I would say our people were shocked. But some of them had heard about his arrest on TV prior to the Sunday service,” Bruce Hutcheson, chairman of the deacon board at Stokesland Baptist Church, said Monday of Tyndall’s departure.
Hutcheson and other deacons who met with Tyndall after his release from the Alamance County Jail have said that he admitted to them that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with the child.
Burlington authorities said the girl, now 14, was 8 and 9 years old when the alleged offenses occurred in Burlington.
Tyndall, 48, was charged by Burlington police detectives with three counts of first-degree sexual offense with a child and three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child between Oct. 1, 1994, and May 31, 1995, while he was pastor of Kinnett Memorial Baptist Church in Burlington.
Police said Tyndall left the Burlington church in 1996 after three years.
He left Burlington and, according to Hutcheson, had served as the pastor of a Baptist church in Mount Olive before being hired about three months ago as Stokesland Baptist Church’s pastor.
“We haven’t had any problems with him,” Hutcheson said.
In checking out Tyndall’s references at the Mount Olive church, Hutcheson said he understood that they hadn’t had any problem with him, either.
“Things such as these can happen to any church, no one is immune,” the deacon chief said.
The Danville church, located near West Main Street, has between 130 and 150 members. It reportedly grew by several members during Tyndall’s short tenure.
Officers at the Alamance County Jail said Monday the minister spent only one night and most of a day in the jail. He was jailed Thursday night after surrendering to police detectives.
The jail log shows Tyndall was released at 5:24 p.m. Friday after a $200,000 bond secured by property was posted for his appearance in court later. Neither the jail nor the Alamance County Clerk of Court’s office had the names of the bond’s signers available Monday afternoon.

A former Burlington pastor charged with sex crimes has left his Danville, Va., church after reportedly admitting to deacons there that he acted inappropriately with a child. Many members of the Danville church pastored by the Rev. James Preston Tyndall were shocked Sunday to learn that he had been charged with six felony sex crimes Thursday and had resigned Friday evening. “I would say our people were shocked. But some of them had heard about his arrest on TV prior to the Sunday service,” Bruce Hutcheson, chairman of the deacon board at Stokesland Baptist Church, said Monday of Tyndall’s departure. Hutcheson and other deacons who met with Tyndall after his release from the Alamance County Jail have said that he admitted to them that he engaged in inappropriate conduct with the child. Burlington authorities said the girl, now 14, was 8 and 9 years old when the alleged offenses occurred in Burlington. (4/10/2002, Alamance County Times-News)

News Story http://www.reformation.com/CSA/tyndall1.htm


Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5017933-NC-Tyndall-JamesPreston-Sof.html

Jefferson “Brother Jeff” Marion Moore Jr. Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Smith County, 2004
Outcome: Convicted of raping a child; sentenced to life, died in prison in 2008.
A former East Texas daycare owner who was sentenced to prison for the sexual assault of a child has died.
Jefferson Moore, 60, of Flint, was found dead in his South Texas prison cell by his cellmate and prison officials. This information was just released, but Moore’s death occured on May 26th.
During his trial in Smith County, Moore was convicted of molesting one of the girls he took care of at the Dogwood City Daycare, which he formerly owned. He was sentenced to life in prison for that offence, and was later sentenced to an additional 10 years for punching a Smith County assistant DA during his trial.

A former Dogwood City pastor convicted of molesting small children while in his day care has died in prison. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokeswoman Michelle Lyons confirmed that Jefferson Marion Moore Jr., 60, (Brother Jeff) died in his cell in the McConnell Unit late last month. Officers were doing a routine head count on May 26 about 5:23 a.m. when Moore’s cellmate told them Moore was unresponsive in the cell,” she said.
While awaiting trial and out of the Smith County Jail on bond, Moore made several threats to Tyler Morning Telegraph reporters covering the case and was warned by Tyler police about his actions and told to stay away from the reporters and the newspaper. The prosecutor told jurors in the case that a child rapist was finally discovered in the community and law enforcement found that he had been raping little girls for some time.


Two charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child against the former owner of the Dogwood City Daycare and Preschool.
The claims were made against Jefferson Marion Moore, Jr. by children that once attended the daycare.
Friday, Moore contacted KLTV wanting to tell his side of the story.
“I’ve dedicated myself to helping kids. It devastated me,” Moore said.
He says he’s innocent. “I want to say that I totally deny any and all of these false allegations that were made by these 2 children,” Moore said.
But Smith County investigators think differently. Thursday they charged Jeff Moore, Jr. with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. Moore turned himself in to the sheriff’s department, saying he wanted no trouble with the law.
“You don’t have 19 to 20 years of something and then one day you decide to throw it all out the window and do something that goes against everything and do something you have no desire to do,” Moore said.
He is also the pastor at the Dogwood City Chapel next door to what used to be the daycare. Now it’s a guitar and music lesson shop.
“When they came here this was their refuge really,” Moore said.
It’s Moore’s claim the charges are the result of his disciplining a young girl who was hiding outside in the backyard with two other children. That, he believes, led to the accusations from that girl and one of her friends.
The search warrant affidavit details the six year old girl’s graphic account of sexual abuse. Details so graphic we could not include them in this report. KLTV asked Jeff Moore, Jr. if he had seen the claims.
“Yes and I totally deny it. I saw the allegations and that’s when I just almost died. I wouldn’t touch a child. You don’t become a pedophile over night.”
The affidavit said one of the assaults happened during nap time, something Moore also denied.
“No one ever took a nap with Jeff Moore, period.”
The Dogwood City Daycare was closed in December when authorities began their investigation.
KLTV tried to contact the families of the two girls but were unable to reach them.
Jeff Moore, Jr. said the case is expected to go to trial in September.

News Story https://www.kltv.com/story/8553338/jefferson-moore-dies-in-south-texas-prison/


Police/Court Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5513971-Moore-JeffersonMarionJrTDCJcourtfiles.html

John H. Burghard Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Richland County, 2003
Outcome: Convicted of importuning a minor. Found guilty on April 21, 2003, and sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Joshua Lee Allen Church Position: Minister
Court of Conviction: Federal, 2006
Outcome: Pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography; sentenced to four years in federal prison. Released in April 2010. Registered sex offender in Texas.

Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5001249-Allen-Joshua-Lee-SOR.html

The one shot cure for ALL Christian Pedophiles. Take them out back, put them on their knees, tell them to pray to their gawd, and put a bullet in the back of their fucking heads. Problem of Christian Pedophiles solved.

I mean if Christian Pastors of Hate can call for this to happen to atheists, lgbts, and others? Then we should be able to do this to ALL Christian degenerate pedophiles.
The one shot cure for ALL Christian Pedophiles. Take them out back, put them on their knees, tell them to pray to their gawd, and put a bullet in the back of their fucking heads. Problem of Christian Pedophiles solved.

I mean if Christian Pastors of Hate can call for this to happen to atheists, lgbts, and others? Then we should be able to do this to ALL Christian degenerate pedophiles.

Kenneth Larry Payne Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Amherst County, 2007
Outcome: Found guilty in 2007 and sentenced to five years probation. (Five years with five years suspended), Virginia court records show. Died in 2017.

Kevin Douglas Ogle Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Georgia, 2007
Outcome: Registered as a sex offender in South Carolina for a sexual exploitation of children conviction from Georgia.
A Camden minister charged with cyber sex crimes is waiting for an extradition hearing.
The minister, 42-year-old Kevin Ogle, is accused of sending graphic pictures of himself over the internet to a teen girl.
The people he preached to on Sunday held a meeting about his arrest.
A man of God, he’s now arrested and charged with cyber sex crimes. Kevin Ogle, 42, is accused of soliciting sex over the internet. Officers say he thought he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl, and instead it was an officer in Georgia.
Deacon Mike Clifton tells WIS, “It was discouraging and disappointing but again a pastor is human just like anybody else is.”
Members of Ogle’s Camden church held a meeting about his arrest. Despite the charges, they are committed to supporting him through this.
Ogle has been a minister at the Northgate Colonial Baptist Church in Camden for three years. Church members say Ogle was an excellent preacher. Church member Jean Shirley says, “I could not believe it. I thought it had to be an error. I just didn’t think that could be our Kevin. I really didn’t. He has so much God-given talent.”
Investigators say Ogle sent explicit pictures of himself over the internet chat room on Yahoo.com.
It’s been a tough case for Captain David Thomley, “It’s shock to me and everyone. We graduated high school together. I’ve known him my whole life.”
Ogle has a wife and two young boys.
He’s now in the Kershaw County jail. Since the crime was initiated in Georgia, he’ll have to be extradited to formally face 11 counts of sexually exploiting a child.
Investigators say Ogle may have had contact with people he may have met online. If you have any information, call Crimestoppers at 1-888-559-TIPS.

News Story https://www.wistv.com/story/6114375/minister-accused-of-soliciting-sex-from-teenager/
Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5025996-GA-SC-Ogle-KevinDouglassof.html

Larry Michael Holmes Church Position: Minister
Court of Conviction: Oconee County, 2001
Outcome: Registered sex offender in Georgia for 2001 convictions of aggravated child molestation and child molestation.

Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4901466-GA-Holmes-LarryMichael-Sexoffenderregistry.html

Larry Nuell Neathery Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Tarrant County, 2006
Outcome: Convicted in 2006 of 25 felony charges involving a string of oral and anal sexual assaults and molestation of boys from 1998 to 2004. Serving a life sentence in Texas state prison. All of his victims were under 14. His appeals have been unsuccessful.
A former pastor has been indicted on charges alleging that he sexually abused six boys over a 14-year period, many inside Westside Victory Baptist Church.
The Rev. Larry Nuell Neathery, 55, has been jailed since he surrendered three weeks ago. He was indicted Friday.
Neathery, who resigned as Westside Victory’s pastor last month, is accused of sexual misconduct from 1990 until last year.
Defense attorney Tiffany Lewis said Monday that Neathery “emphatically denies each and every allegation.”
According to the indictment, a 13-year-old church member said Neathery sexually assaulted him several times in late 2003 and early 2004. Another person claims Neathery fondled him as a youth in 1990 and, after he was an adult, tried to sexually assault him in 2003.
Three brothers, then ages 7, 11 and 12, accuse Neathery of varying degrees of sexual misconduct; the 11-year-old told authorities he had been abused since he was 5, the first time at Neathery’s church office.
A juvenile alleges that Neathery befriended him and then exposed himself in 2002, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in Monday’s online edition.

News Story https://www.myplainview.com/news/article/Former-pastor-accused-of-abusing-seven-boys-8585091.php
Police/Court Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4567164-Nethery-LarryCrimTDCJlocation.html

Leslie M. Mason Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Richland County, 2002
Outcome: Registered sex offender in Illinois for sexual assault of a victim aged 16.
Leaders of the Illinois Baptist State Association didn’t think their state Baptist newspaper should have reported last year that a politically active pastor had been charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault involving two teenage girls who attended his church.
Reporting that incident on the front page of the Illinois Baptist put Editor Michael Leathers in a confrontation with the convention’s interim executive director, who was his supervisor, as well as other convention leadership. Tension over publication of the news story eventually led to the editor’s forced resignation.
However, the criminal charges against the pastor have not gone away, even though they won’t be reported in the state Baptist paper anymore. On Oct. 24, the Illinois Attorney General’s office charged 35-year-old Leslie Mason with 10 additional counts of criminal sexual assault.
Mason had been pastor of Olney Southern Baptist Church in Olney, Ill., for seven years until church members unanimously voted to dismiss him Oct. 24, 2001.
Ironically, the pastor would have been preaching the keynote sermon at this year’s state convention annual meeting Nov. 7, if news of his legal troubles had not been published last year.
The first charges against the pastor last year were filed just days before he was to be nominated to bring the convention sermon this year. News of the charges prompted the convention’s committee on order of business to switch nominees for the high-profile sermon.
Before his arrest, Mason’s star had been on the rise in leadership among the state’s Southern Baptists. He was vice chairman of the constitution-and-bylaws committee. He was also spokesman for a group of conservative pastors seeking inclusion of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message into the state convention’s constitution. He was appointed to the national Southern Baptist Convention’s committee on committees in 1997
Since the Illinois Baptist reported the initial charges against the pastor last year, state convention officials have taken steps to limit the role of the newspaper and prevent it from reporting such matters in the future.

Leslie M. Mason served as the pastor of Olney Southern Baptist Church in Olney, Illinois for seven years. But just days before he was set to deliver a keynote sermon at Illinois’ state convention for Southern Baptists, he was charged with multiple sex crimes. In 2001, Mason was charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault for incidents involving two teenage girls who attended his church. Soon after, prosecutors from the Illinois Attorney General’s office added another 10 counts of criminal sexual assault against the 35-year-old minister.


Many of you were rightfully appalled by the letter from Illinois Baptist Children’s Home director Doug Devore in which he urged no prison time for clergy pedophile Leslie Mason. Many other letters were submitted at Mason’s sentencing hearing. I thought you might like to see a sampling of them.


Recall that prominent Southern Baptist pastor Leslie Mason pled guilty to 2 counts of felony sexual assault on a teen girl in exchange for the prosecutor’s dismissal of 8 additional counts involving another girl. Initially, Mason pled “not guilty” in court even though he had previously admitted his guilt to deacons at Olney Southern Baptist Church, who found that he used his position of trust “to pursue and manipulate a 13-year old girl for sexual gratification and that he continued to use his authority to exploit and to maintain an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for a period of approximately seven years.”

WARNING: Reading these may cause retching. An empty stomach is advised.

A deacon of Fairfield First Baptist Church Ralph Demaret: “I believe in punishment, but I also believe in second chances…. Please take into account the many lives he has helped change for the better….”


Men’s Missions Director & Adult Sunday School Director at Fairfield First Baptist Church Brad Turner: “Leslie is a caring individual of the highest moral character who admittedly made a mistake. He has confessed to his mistake…. Please do not judge Leslie solely on this error in judgment, but please take into consideration all of the good works he has performed in the past….”


News Reports http://stopbaptistpredators.org/article/leslie_mason.html



Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4910852-IL-Mason-LeslieMsor.html

First? We strip these Christian pedophiles, bind them to a table, then? Place a starving rat on their junk and let the rat do it's business. Bet they never rape another child again huh?

 The Christians called this the Rat Torture during their Inquisitional period, where they did this to those they declared homosexuals, or heretics, or witches. So if it was good enough for them? Then it is good enough to put to death their disgusting, degenerate Christian pedophiles.
First? We strip these Christian pedophiles, bind them to a table, then? Place a starving rat on their junk and let the rat do it’s business. Bet they never rape another child again huh? The Christians called this the Rat Torture during their Inquisitional period, where they did this to those they declared homosexuals, or heretics, or witches. So if it was good enough for them? Then it is good enough to put to death their disgusting, degenerate Christian pedophiles.

Mark W. Mangrum Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Federal, 2007
Outcome: Pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2018 to 70 months in federal prison and 20 years supervised release for distributing child porn in order to “induce a minor to engage in sexual conduct.” Registered sex offender in Tennessee.
The Jackson Sun reported earlier this week that Mark Woodson Mangrum, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Parsons, Tenn., is scheduled to appear in court Friday to change his plea to guilty in connection with a federal charge that accuses him of using a computer to entice a 14-year-old boy into having sex.
Mangrum was one of six people indicted Feb. 13 by a grand jury in Memphis on federal charges of child pornography or using a computer to solicit sex from a minor.
Mangrum’s attorney at first said his defendant didn’t do anything wrong and was looking forward to defending himself in court. But on Monday attorney Mark Donahoe told the Jackson Sun that Mangrum had settled on a plea agreement, but he couldn’t discuss details.
Mangrum reportedly worked at First Baptist Church in Parsons six years before resigning in January. In February Donahoe said Mangrum stepped down because, “he didn’t want anyone in the church to be uncomfortable or for this situation to affect the church in any way until the final matter can be resolved.”

News Story https://ethicsdaily.com/gay-sex-sting-operation-nabs-baptist-pastor-cms-11712/
Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4936941-TN-Mangrum-MarkWoodson-Sof.html

Robert Michael Black Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Clay County (7th Judicial Circuit), 2011
Outcome: Pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted enticement of a child. Sentenced in 2011 to five years in prison. Released, according to Missouri court records.
Baptist church sticking by pastor facing sex charges
A small Southern Baptist church near St. Joseph, Mo., is reportedly standing by its pastor, who is accused of soliciting sex over the Internet with a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl.
Robert Black, 40, of Independence, Mo., waived his right to a preliminary hearing and is scheduled to appear in court May 14 to face charges of first-degree attempted statutory rape and attempted enticement of a child under 15.
Police arrested Black April 8, after he allegedly arranged by e-mail to meet for sex with a minor “girl” — who was actually an Internet crimes detective — at a car wash in Liberty, Mo. According to media reports, police found more than 130 online “friends,” many of them teenagers, on a Facebook account registered to “Jon Still.”
Investigators believe the name is an alias that Black used to entice teenagers. They have asked parents in the region to report if they believe their children may have communicated with him using that name.
Black is pastor of New Home Baptist Church in St. Joseph, Mo., a small congregation that is affiliated with the Missouri Baptist and Southern Baptist conventions. He claims he is innocent.
Clyde Elder, director of missions for St. Joseph Baptist Association, said May 6 the church is standing in support of its preacher, and by mutual agreement with church leaders Black has taken a leave of absence with pay. Elder said the church is using supply preachers during Black’s absence.
“We need to keep Pastor Black and the New Home Baptist Church in our prayers,” Elder said.
New Home Baptist Church has removed information about Black from its website on a staff page that formerly featured a family photo of a smiling Black surrounded by his wife and three young children.
Black has been pastor of the church, with a history dating back to 1887, since 2008. Elder said Black has been part of the New Home congregation for about four years, first as a deacon and worship leader. He took over as pastor after the death of a longtime predecessor who led the church for a total of nearly 35 years.
Southern Baptist churches are autonomous and make their own decisions, including about whom to call as pastor, but the Southern Baptist Convention urges congregations to perform background checks before hiring prospective ministers.
According to a Kansas City television station, Black cleared a mandatory background check before coaching a team of girls in the Fort Osage Youth Basketball League.
New Home Baptist Church is the third Southern Baptist congregation to feature recently in news reports involving allegations of sexual abuse.
Police in Benton, Ark., re-arrested David Pierce, 56, former minister of music at the city’s First Baptist Church, May 6 on additional charges of sexual indecency with a child. Originally arrested April 24 on one count of the charge, Pierce now faces 54 counts of the crime involving four alleged victims.
Police say current charges relate to incidents alleged in the last three years. They said all the victims alleging abuse are still teenagers who are or were involved in the church’s youth choir program, named Pure Energy, that Pierce directed.
According to the Benton Courier, Sheriff Bruce Pennington said in a news conference he expects additional charges to be filed against Pierce, saying allegations of abuse are believed to date back about 15 years.
After learning of allegations against him, First Baptist Church fired Pierce, who had been on the church staff for 29 years. With 2,500 members, the church is prominent in the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
In suburban Memphis, Steven Haney, 48, former pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., received probation after pleading guilty April 29 to rape and sexual battery by an authority figure.
One of Haney’s alleged victims claimed that his former pastor molested him for more than five years, beginning when he was 15. He said Haney lured the youth into a long-term sexual relationship by convincing him it was God’s will and a test of his faith.
Prosecutors agreed to a guilty plea to spare witnesses the stress of testifying in court. Haney still faces federal charges of child pornography that carry a 10-year prison sentence.

News Story https://baptistnews.com/article/baptist-church-sticking-by-pastor-facing-sex-charges/#.XFMZIFVKhhE

Steven Carl Haney Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Shelby County, 2009
Outcome: Registered sex offender in Tennessee who was convicted of a 2003 sexual battery by an authority figure and of a 2001 rape in state court.
Former Southern Baptist pastor pleads guilty to sexual abuse
A former Southern Baptist pastor arrested in 2007 on charges that he sexually abused two teenage boys has avoided prison — for now.
Steven C. Haney, 48, pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church in the Memphis suburb of Cordova, Tenn., for 20 years before his resignation in December 2006, pleaded guilty April 29 to rape and sexual battery by an authority figure in a settlement intended to allow victims and their families to avoid the stress of testifying.
According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Judge John Colton Jr. approved the settlement, sentencing Haney to probation for eight years and adding his name to the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry. He was given suspended, concurrent sentences of eight and three years. Haney still faces federal child pornography charges in an indictment handed down in October 2007, punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison.
Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Haney in July 2007, after a 21-year-old man told detectives that Haney molested him for more than five years beginning when he was 15. The alleged victim testified at a preliminary hearing in September 2007 that Haney lured him into a long-term sexual relationship by convincing him it was God’s will and a test of his faith.
After the arrest, a former member of Haney’s church told a Memphis television station she wasn’t surprised by the allegation, because about 30 members left the congregation after similar accusations involving another teenager surfaced in the 1990s.
At one point police said detectives were interviewing as many as 10 people who may have been former victims of Haney.
In 2008 Haney’s former church changed its name from Walnut Grove to Gracepoint Baptist Church, seeking a fresh start and break with the recent past.
Because Southern Baptist churches are autonomous, they make their own decisions about hiring and firing ministers. The Southern Baptist Convention offers guidelines for protecting against sexual abuse, including a link to a national sex offender database.
Christa Brown, Baptist outreach director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says sex-offender databases aren’t enough protection, because they list only those convicted of a crime and the vast majority of molestations are never prosecuted.
Two years ago Brown asked Southern Baptist leaders to create a national database of clergy convicted, admitted or credibly accused of sexual abuse and create an independent review board to receive and investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.
After study, the SBC Executive Committee opted against the proposal, saying the convention lacked authority to investigate local churches. Time magazine ranked that denial one of the top 10 “under-reported” stories of the year.
In an address to the convention in 2008, Executive Committee President and CEO Morris Chapman strongly condemned “those who would use our churches as a hunting ground for their own sick and selfish pleasure” and said that while the number of Baptist ministers who are sexual predators appeared to be small “one sexual predator in our midst is one too many.”

News Story https://baptistnews.com/article/former-southern-baptist-pastor-pleads-guilty-to-sexual-abuse/#.WvIJM6QvyUk
Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4883724-TN-Haney-StevenCarlSexoffenderregistry.html

Terry Ray VanHoutan Church Position: Minister
Court of Conviction: Scott County, 2011
Outcome: Serving a “special life sentence” in Iowa for a sex abuse offense. Committed May 13, 2011.
A Davenport man who police say sexually abused two minors over the course of 14 years was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison.
Terry VanHoutan, 49, pleaded guilty in March to one count of second-degree sex abuse and one count of third-degree sex abuse.
He was sentenced by Scott County District Judge Nancy Tabor to concurrent terms of 25 years and 10 years in prison on those charges. He must serve at least 17 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
“Mr. VanHoutan, this is a very troubling case,” Tabor said.
Records state he abused one juvenile beginning in 1996 and another juvenile beginning in 1999. The abuse continued until last summer.
Additional counts of second-degree sex abuse and third-degree sex abuse were dismissed.
VanHoutan pleaded guilty in 2001 to two counts of indecent exposure, records state. He was sentenced to one year probation.

News Story https://qctimes.com/news/local/man-sentenced-for-sex-abuse-against-minors/article_7b41df9a-7c33-11e0-b131-001cc4c03286.html
Police/Court Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4910859-IA-VanHoutan-Terrydoc.html

Douglas Scott Edwards Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Ketchikan Gateway Borough, 2019
Outcome: Pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a minor. As part of the plea agreement, other charges were dropped, Alaska court records show. Ordered to register as a sex offender in Alaska.
Court accepts plea agreement in Edwards case: Pleads guilty to one count of sexual abuse of a minor

News Story https://www.ketchikandailynews.com/news/local/court-accepts-plea-agreement-in-edwards-case-pleads-guilty-to/article_dc900690-4588-51bd-9c7b-55585c22fa73.html
Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6005665-AK-Edwards-Douglassexoffenderentry.html

Next up? We put these Southern Baptist Convention Pedophile Perverts into the Judas Chair for a while. We set a bucket of hot coal under the seat and give them a chance to try to dance off the spikes.

Just like Christians did this to Pagans and others.
Next up? We put these Southern Baptist Convention Pedophile Perverts into the Judas Chair for a while. We set a bucket of hot coal under the seat and give them a chance to try to dance off the spikes.
Just like Christians did this to Pagans and others.

Minh Van Nguyen Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Fresno County, 2009
Outcome: Registered as a sex offender in California for committing lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 in 2009.
Police say 51-year-old Minh Van Nguyen is accused of sexually abusing a female relative when she was 10. They believe the abuse lasted for four years.
Nguyen is senior pastor at the First Vietnamese Alliance Church.
A San Jose pastor is under arrest for allegedly molesting a female relative starting at the age of 10.
Fifty-one-year-old Minh Van Nguyen is the senior pastor at the First Vietnamese Alliance Church. He’s been held without bail since his arrest on Oct. 2.
The alleged victim, who’s now 22, told investigators that the abuse happened over a four-year period at a location away from the church.

News Story https://abc7news.com/archive/6493552/
Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5776096-CA-Nguyen-MinhVansof.html

David Joe Rich Church Position: Minister
Court of Conviction: Orange County, 1998
Outcome: Registered sex offender in Florida. Convicted on 12/4/1998 of three counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a child. Served three years in prison, according to Florida released offender data.
A minister accused of molesting two girls surrendered to authorities on Friday, five days after resigning from his church.
The Rev. David Joe Rich, minister of Springs Community Baptist Church, was charged with eight counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a child. Investigators also planned to charge him with capital sexual battery, said a spokesman for the Orange County sheriff’s department.

A minister who molested third-graders at his church school couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t molest again, and so was sentenced to prison for 7 years and 4 months, followed by 10 years of probation. The judge acknowledged the remorse of David Joe Rich, 55, and that he took responsibility for his crimes, but said she wanted to ensure he would not harm anyone again.
Rich, former pastor of Springs Community Baptist Church, pleaded guilty to molesting 2 girls and trying to molest a third during the 1995-96 school year. He fondled the girls, ages 8 and 9, at his desk while other students were in the classroom, said the prosecutor. The desk concealed the probing.
Rich apologized and made no excuses for his conduct but could not explain it. With God’s help and counseling, he said, he hoped never to molest again. But he said he would be foolish to make a “100 percent” guarantee. He had resigned when confronted about the abuse 2 years after it ended.
While on probation, Rich must get counseling. He cannot be alone with children younger than 18 or live near a school or other place where children visit. The judge told Rich he should bring his ministry to prison. “There are people in prison who could use your services,” she said.

News Story https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-1998-02-14-9802140126-story.html


Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5776121-FL-Rich-DavidJoesof.html
Police/Court Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5776116-FL-Rich-DavidJoedocreleasedoffender.html

Kenneth “Atlantis” Keith Long Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Federal, 2000
Outcome: Tried in federal court and convicted by a jury on two counts of interstate transportation of a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and two counts of possession of pornography featuring minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Sentenced to 360 months in federal prison. Appealed and lost. Six boys were victims underlying charges in the indictment, appellate court records show.

News Story http://www.gazette.net/gazette_archive/1999/199920/largo/news/a27843-1.html
Police/Court Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4901476-FL-Long-KennethKeith-BOP.html

Dwight Gregory Watson Church Position: Church employee
Court of Conviction: Cherokee County, 2016
Outcome: Registered sex offender in Georgia who was convicted in 2016 of sexual exploitation of children.
The Canton man investigators called “one of the most active child porn consumers in the state” has been indicted on 10 counts related to his charges.
Dwight Watson, 43, who was indicted earlier this month by a Cherokee County grand jury on 10 counts of sexual exploitation of children, is set to be arraigned Jan. 10, court records show,.
According to his indictment, Watson “knowingly possessed” graphic photographs and graphic videos depicting young boys and girls engaged in lewd sexual acts and intended to distribute them.
Investigators believe some of the videos in Watson’s possession featured children as young as 5 or 6 years old, according to arrest warrants taken out against the man.
Watson was arrested following a Sept. 28 search of his Canton home and subsequently charged with 50 counts of child pornography after a two-month investigation into him by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.
Detectives seized two laptops, thumb drives, cell phones and several external hard drives containing “tens of thousands of files of interest” from the Canton man’s home on Carrington Way, investigators said.
Watson was initially released Sept. 30 on a $50,000 bond but a Magistrate Court judge ordered his bond be increased to $400,000 after the district attorney’s office filed a motion raise the amount.
In a hearing held Oct. 5, the state placed Cherokee Sheriff’s Office Detective Claude Dobbs on the stand. Dobbs, the lead investigator in the case against Watson, testified that the father of two accused of possessing child pornography “was freelancing for New Hope Ministries as a sex addiction counselor.”
He also said it appeared Watson had tampered with evidence in the case, resetting his laptop after he was told detectives were executing a search warrant at his home.
Dobbs said investigators believe Watson may have used the three-hour window between the time they arrived at his home and the time he was taken into custody to wipe his laptop of any evidence of child pornography.
“It looked like the user profile was deleted or that it was factory-restored,” Dobbs told the Magistrate Court judge, adding that Watson admitted having child pornography on that particular laptop during an interview conducted inside the jail following his arrest.
“Mr. Watson is charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation,” District Attorney Shannon Wallace said Tuesday. “His arraignment is scheduled for Jan.10.”
Watson’s case has been assigned to Superior Court Judge David Cannon and Zack Smith is set to prosecute him on the state’s behalf, Wallace said.
Watson was being held at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center.

News Story https://www.tribuneledgernews.com/local_news/canton-man-indicted-on-child-porn-charges/article_4914e556-cef5-11e6-b268-1b22b773db91.html
Sex Offender Record https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5776105-GA-Watson-DwightGregorysof.html

Renato Capili Bosi Church Position: Pastor
Court of Conviction: Guam, 2019
Outcome: A jury found Bosi guilty after a trial on two felony counts of second degree criminal sexual assault and three misdemeanor charges, including two counts of criminal sexual conduct and one of child abuse, according to a press release released by the Guam Attorney General. “This perpetrator used his position as a man of God to strike fear in his young victim who looked to him for guidance,” said Chief Prosecutor J. Basil O’Mallan III. Sentencing is scheduled for July 24, 2019.
Renato Bosi, a Pastor whose teenaged victim saw him as a “father” figure, was convicted by a jury today.
Bosi was found guilty of two counts of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct as a First-Degree Felony, two counts of Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct as a Misdemeanor, and Child Abuse as a Misdemeanor.
“This perpetrator used his position as a man of God to strike fear in his young victim who looked to him for guidance,” said Chief Prosecutor J. Basil O’Mallan III.
“I am grateful to have delivered justice to the victim and her family after a long and tough trial. After coming forward about the abuse, the defendant tried to escape justice by turning his faithful against the victim in a shameful scheme of character assassination. I thank the jury for seeing through the smokescreen to demonize and revictimize her and hope this verdict encourages more victims to come forward when sexual abuse happens, no matter the power or position of their abuser,” he concluded.
Bosi faces a minimum of 10 years imprisonment at the Department of Corrections. Sentencing is scheduled for July 24, 2019, before Judge Perez.

News Story https://usa.inquirer.net/27532/ex-baptist-pastor-on-trial-in-guam-for-sexual-abuse-of-minor
Police/Court Record http://oagguam.org/former-pastor-convicted-for-sexually-assaulting-teenager/

Abuse of Faith 20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms

Abuse of Faith

20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms

By Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco
Multimedia by Jon Shapley

First of six parts

Thirty-five years later, Debbie Vasquez’s voice trembled as she described her trauma to a group of Southern Baptist leaders.

She was 14, she said, when she was first molested by her pastor in Sanger, a tiny prairie town an hour north of Dallas. It was the first of many assaults that Vasquez said destroyed her teenage years and, at 18, left her pregnant by the Southern Baptist pastor, a married man more than a dozen years older.

In June 2008, she paid her way to Indianapolis, where she and others asked leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and its 47,000 churches to track sexual predators and take action against congregations that harbored or concealed abusers. Vasquez, by then in her 40s, implored them to consider prevention policies like those adopted by faiths that include the Catholic Church.In this 2007 file photo, Debbie Vasquez holds a photo of herself at age 14, when she says she was first molested by the pastor of her church in Sanger, about one hour north of Dallas. (Donna McWilliam/Associated Press)

In this 2007 file photo, Debbie Vasquez holds a photo of herself at age 14, when she says she was first molested by the pastor of her church in Sanger, about one hour north of Dallas. (Donna McWilliam/Associated Press)

“Listen to what God has to say,” she said, according to audio of the meeting, which she recorded. “… All that evil needs is for good to do nothing. … Please help me and others that will be hurt.”

Days later, Southern Baptist leaders rejected nearly every proposed reform.

The abusers haven’t stopped. They’ve hurt hundreds more.

In the decade since Vasquez’s appeal for help, more than 250 people who worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches have been charged with sex crimes, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reveals.

It’s not just a recent problem: In all, since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the newspapers found. That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued, and those who confessed or resigned. More of them worked in Texas than in any other state.

They left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.

About 220 offenders have been convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending. They were pastors. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school teachers. Deacons. Church volunteers.

Nearly 100 are still held in prisons stretching from Sacramento County, Calif., to Hillsborough County, Fla., state and federal records show. Scores of others cut deals and served no time. More than 100 are registered sex offenders. Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today.

Journalists in the two newsrooms spent more than six months reviewing thousands of pages of court, prison and police records and conducting hundreds of interviews. They built a database of former leaders in Southern Baptist churches who have been convicted of sex crimes.

The investigation reveals that:

• At least 35 church pastors, employees and volunteers who exhibited predatory behavior were still able to find jobs at churches during the past two decades. In some cases, church leaders apparently failed to alert law enforcement about complaints or to warn other congregations about allegations of misconduct.

• Several past presidents and prominent leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are among those criticized by victims for concealing or mishandling abuse complaints within their own churches or seminaries.

• Some registered sex offenders returned to the pulpit. Others remain there, including a Houston preacher who sexually assaulted a teenager and now is the principal officer of a Houston nonprofit that works with student organizations, federal records show. Its name: Touching the Future Today Inc.

• Many of the victims were adolescents who were molested, sent explicit photos or texts, exposed to pornography, photographed nude, or repeatedly raped by youth pastors. Some victims as young as 3 were molested or raped inside pastors’ studies and Sunday school classrooms. A few were adults — women and men who sought pastoral guidance and instead say they were seduced or sexually assaulted.

Heather Schneider was 14 when she was molested in a choir room at Houston’s Second Baptist Church, according to criminal and civil court records. Her mother, Gwen Casados, said church leaders waited months to fire the attacker, who later pleaded no contest. In response to her lawsuit, church leaders also denied responsibility.

Schneider slit her wrists the day after that attack in 1994, Casados said. She survived, but she died 14 years later from a drug overdose that her mother blames on the trauma.

“I never got her back,” Casados said.

Others took decades to come forward, and only after their lives had unraveled. David Pittman was 12, he says, when a youth minister from his Georgia church first molested him in 1981. Two other former members of the man’s churches said in interviews that they also were abused by him. But by the time Pittman spoke out in 2006, it was too late to press criminal charges.

The minister still works at an SBC church.

Pittman won’t soon forgive those who have offered prayers but taken no action. He only recently stopped hating God.

“That is the greatest tragedy of all,” he said. “So many people’s faith is murdered. I mean, their faith is slaughtered by these predators.”

August “Augie” Boto, interim president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, helped draft the rejection of reform proposals in 2008. In an interview, he expressed “sorrow” about some of the newspapers’ findings but said the convention’s leadership can do only so much to stop sexual abuses.

“It would be sorrow if it were 200 or 600” cases, Boto said. “Sorrow. What we’re talking about is criminal. The fact that criminal activity occurs in a church context is always the basis of grief. But it’s going to happen. And that statement does not mean that we must be resigned to it.”

At the core of Southern Baptist doctrine is local church autonomy, the idea that each church is independent and self-governing. It’s one of the main reasons that Boto said most of the proposals a decade ago were viewed as flawed by the executive committee because the committee doesn’t have the authority to force churches to report sexual abuse to a central registry.

Because of that, Boto said, the committee “realized that lifting up a model that could not be enforced was an exercise in futility,” and so instead drafted a report that “accepted the existence of the problem rather than attempting to define its magnitude.”

SBC churches and organizations share resources and materials, and together they fund missionary trips and seminaries. Most pastors are ordained locally after they’ve convinced a small group of church elders that they’ve been called to service by God. There is no central database that tracks ordinations, or sexual abuse convictions or allegations.

All of that makes Southern Baptist churches highly susceptible to predators, says Christa Brown, an activist who wrote a book about being molested as a child by a pastor at her SBC church in Farmers Branch, a Dallas suburb.

“It’s a perfect profession for a con artist, because all he has to do is talk a good talk and convince people that he’s been called by God, and bingo, he gets to be a Southern Baptist minister,” said Brown, who lives in Colorado. “Then he can infiltrate the entirety of the SBC, move from church to church, from state to state, go to bigger churches and more prominent churches where he has more influence and power, and it all starts in some small church.

“It’s a porous sieve of a denomination.”

To try to measure the problem, the newspapers collected and cross-checked news reports, prison records, court records, sex offender registries and other documents. Reporters also conducted hundreds of interviews with victims, church leaders, investigators and offenders.

‘So many people’s faith is murdered. I mean, their faith is slaughtered by these predators.’

David Pittman, who says he was molested by his youth minister

Several factors make it likely that the abuse is even more widespread than can be documented: Victims of sexual assault come forward at a low rate; many cases in churches are handled internally; and many Southern Baptist churches are in rural communities where media coverage is sparse.

It’s clear, however, that SBC leaders have long been aware of the problem. Bowing to pressure from activists, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, one of the largest SBC state organizations, in 2007 published a list of eight sex offenders who had served in Southern Baptist churches in Texas.

Around the same time, the Rev. Thomas Doyle wrote to SBC leaders, imploring them to act. A priest and former high-ranking lawyer for the Catholic Church, Doyle in the 1980s was one of the earliest to blow the whistle on child sexual abuse in the church. But Catholic leaders “lied about it … covered it up and ignored the victims,” said Doyle, now retired and living in northern Virginia.

Doyle turned to activism because of his experiences, work that brought him closer to those abused in Southern Baptist churches. Their stories — and how the SBC handled them — felt hauntingly familiar, he said.

“I saw the same type of behavior going on with the Southern Baptists,” he said.

The responses were predictable, Doyle said. In one, Frank Page, then the SBC president, wrote that they were “taking this issue seriously” but that local church autonomy presented “serious limitations.” In March, Page resigned as president and CEO of the SBC’s Executive Committee for “a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past,” according to the executive committee.

Details have not been disclosed, but SBC officials said they had “no reason to suspect any legal impropriety.” Page declined to be interviewed.

Other leaders have acknowledged that Baptist churches are troubled by predators but that they could not interfere in local church affairs. Even so, the SBC has ended its affiliation with at least four churches in the past 10 years for affirming or endorsing homosexual behavior. The SBC governing documents ban gay or female pastors, but they do not outlaw convicted sex offenders from working in churches.

In one email to Debbie Vasquez, Augie Boto assured her that “no Baptist I know of is pretending that ‘the problem does not exist.'”

“There is no question that some Southern Baptist ministers have done criminal things, including sexual abuse of children,” he wrote in a May 2007 email. “It is a sad and tragic truth. Hopefully, the harm emanating from such occurrences will cause the local churches to be more aggressively vigilant.”Gwen Casados sits in her daughter's room in Houston. Her daughter, Heather Schneider, was sexually abused inside Second Baptist Church in Houston in 1994 and later died of a drug overdose. Photo: Jon Shapley/Staff Photographer

Gwen Casados sits in her daughter’s room in Houston. Her daughter, Heather Schneider, was sexually abused inside Second Baptist Church in Houston in 1994 and later died of a drug overdose. (Jon Shapley/Staff Photographer | Houston Chronicle)Offenders return to preach

The SBC Executive Committee also wrote in 2008 that it “would certainly be justified” to end affiliations with churches that “intentionally employed a known sexual offender or knowingly placed one in a position of leadership over children or other vulnerable participants in its ministries.”

Current SBC President J.D. Greear reaffirmed that stance in an email to the Chronicle, writing that any church that “proves a pattern of sinful neglect — regarding abuse or any other matter — should absolutely be removed from fellowship from the broader denomination.”

“The Bible calls for pastors to be people of integrity, known for their self-control and kindness,” Greear wrote. “A convicted sex offender would certainly not meet those qualifications. Churches that ignore that are out of line with both Scripture and Baptist principles of cooperation.”

But the newspapers found at least 10 SBC churches that welcomed pastors, ministers and volunteers since 1998 who had previously faced charges of sexual misconduct. In some cases, they were registered sex offenders.

In Illinois, Leslie Mason returned to the pulpit a few years after he was convicted in 2003 on two counts of criminal sexual assault. Mason had been a rising star in local Southern Baptist circles until the charges were publicized by Michael Leathers, who was then editor of the state’s Baptist newspaper.

Letters from angry readers poured in. Among those upset by Leathers’ decision to publish the story was Glenn Akins, the interim executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association.

“To have singled Les out in such a sensationalistic manner ignores many others who have done the same thing,” Akins wrote in a memo, a copy of which Leathers provided. “You could have asked nearly any staff member and gotten the names of several other prominent churches where the same sort of sexual misconduct has occurred recently in our state.”

Akins, now the assistant executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, declined an interview request.

Leathers resigned after state Baptist convention leaders told him he might be fired and lose his severance pay, he said. Mason, meanwhile, admitted to investigators that he had relationships with four different girls, records show.

Mason received a seven-year prison sentence under a plea deal in which investigators dropped all but two of his charges. After his release, he returned to the pulpit of a different SBC church a few miles away.

“That just appalled me,” Leathers said. “They had to have known they put a convicted sex offender behind the pulpit. … If a church calls a woman to pastor their church, there are a lot of Southern Baptist organizations that, sadly, would disassociate with them immediately. Why wouldn’t they do the same for convicted sex offenders?”

Mason has since preached at multiple SBC churches in central Illinois. He said in an interview that those churches “absolutely know about my past,” and said churches and other institutions need “to be better at handling” sexual abuse.

Mason said that “nobody is above reproach in all things” and that church leaders — particularly those who work with children — “desperately need accountability.”

In Houston, Michael Lee Jones started a Southern Baptist church, Cathedral of Faith, after his 1998 conviction for having sex with a teenage female congregant at a different SBC church nearby. Jones, also leader of a nonprofit called Touching the Future Today, was included on the list of convicted ministers released by the Baptist General Convention of Texas a decade ago.
Dr. Joe Ratliff, the pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church, is pictured in this 2013 file photo. (Houston Chronicle file)

In December, Cathedral of Faith celebrated its 20th anniversary at a downtown Houston hotel, according to the church’s website. A flyer for the event touted sermons from Jones, another pastor and Joseph S. Ratliff, the longtime pastor of Houston’s Brentwood Baptist Church.

Ratliff was sued in 2003 for sexual misconduct with a man he was counseling. The lawsuit was settled and dismissed by agreement of the parties, according to Harris County court records and interviews. The settlement is subject to a confidentiality agreement. Ratliff has been sued two other times, one involving another person who had come in for counseling; the other involved his handling of allegations against another church official, Harris County records show. The disposition of those two cases was not available.

Jones, Ratliff and Ratliff’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment. ‘A known problem’

Wade Burleson, a former president of Oklahoma’s Southern Baptist convention, says it has long been clear that Southern Baptist churches face a crisis. In 2007 and 2018, he asked SBC leaders to study sexual abuse in churches and bring prevention measures to a vote at the SBC’s annual meeting.

Leaders pushed back both times, he said. Some cited local church autonomy; others feared lawsuits if the reforms didn’t prevent abuse.

Burleson couldn’t help but wonder if there have been “ulterior motives” at play.

“There’s a known problem, but it’s too messy to deal with,” he said in a recent interview. “It’s not that we can’t do it as much as we don’t want to do it. … To me, that’s a problem. You must want to do it, to do it.”

Doyle, the Catholic whistleblower, was similarly suspicious, if more blunt: “I understand the fear, because it’s going to make the leadership look bad,” he said. “Well, they are bad, and they should look bad. Because they have ignored this issue. They have demonized the victims.”

Several Southern Baptist leaders and their churches have been criticized for ignoring the abused or covering for alleged predators, including at Houston’s Second Baptist, where former SBC President Ed Young has been pastor since 1978. Young built the church into one of the largest and most important in the SBC; today, it counts more than 60,000 members who attend at multiple campuses.

Before she was molested in the choir room at Second Baptist in 1994, Heather Schneider filled a black notebook with poems. The seventh-grader, with long white-blond hair and sparkling green eyes, had begun to work as a model. She soon attracted attention from John Forse, who coordinated church pageants and programs at Second Baptist.

He also used his position to recruit girls for private acting lessons, according to Harris County court documents.

A day after she was attacked, Schneider told her mother, Casados, that Forse had touched her inappropriately and tried to force her to do “horrendous things.” Casados called police.
John Neal Forse is a registered sex offender. He attacked a fourteen-year-old inside Second Baptist Church in 1994. (Texas DPS)

Casados, who was raised a Baptist, said she received a call from Young, who initially offered to do whatever he could to help her daughter. But after she told Young she already had called police, he hung up and “we never heard from him again,” she said in an interview.

It took months — and the threat of criminal charges — before Forse left his position at the church, according to statements made by Forse’s attorney at the time and Schneider’s responses to questions in a related civil lawsuit.

In August 1994, Forse received deferred adjudication and 10 years’ probation after pleading no contest to two counts of indecency with a child by contact. He remains a registered sex offender and was later convicted of a pornography charge. He is listed in the sex offender registry as transient; he could not be reached for comment.

Church officials declined interview requests. In a statement to the Chronicle, Second Baptist stated that it takes “allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse very seriously and constantly strives to provide and maintain a safe, Christian environment for all employees, church members and guests.”

The church declined to release its employment policies but described Forse as a “short-term contract worker” when he was accused of sex abuse. “After Second Baptist became aware of the allegations made against Forse his contract was terminated,” the statement says. “Upon notification, Second Baptist Church cooperated fully with law enforcement in this matter.”

Schneider’s parents filed a civil lawsuit against the church, Forse and a modeling agency. The case against the church was dismissed; its lawyers argued that Forse was not acting as a church employee. Second Baptist was not part of an eventual settlement.

In 1992, before Schneider was molested, a lawyer for the Southern Baptist Convention wrote in a court filing that the SBC did not distribute instructions to its member churches on handling sexual abuse claims. He said Second Baptist had no written procedures on the topic.

The lawyer, Neil Martin, was writing in response to a lawsuit that accused First Baptist Church of Conroe of continuing to employ Riley Edward Cox Jr. as a youth pastor after a family said that he had molested their child. In a court filing, Cox admitted to molesting three boys in the late 1980s.

Young, SBC president at the time of the lawsuit, was asked to outline the organization’s policies on child sexual abuse as part of the lawsuit. He declined to testify, citing “local church autonomy” and saying in an affidavit that he had “no educational training in the area of sexual abuse or the investigation of sexual abuse claims.”

Young also said he feared testifying could jeopardize his blossoming TV ministry

Leaders of Second Baptist have been similarly reluctant to release or discuss their policies on sexual abuse in response to two other civil lawsuits related to sexual assault claims filed in the last five years, court records show. Those suits accuse the church of ignoring or concealing abuses committed by youth pastor Chad Foster, who was later convicted.

Another civil lawsuit asserted that Second Baptist helped conceal alleged rapes by Paul Pressler, a former Texas state judge and former SBC vice president. In that suit, brought by a member of Pressler’s youth group, three other men have said in affidavits that Pressler groped them or tried to pressure them into sex. Second Baptist, however, has been dismissed from the suit, and the plaintiff’s sexual abuse claims against Pressler have been dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.

Pressler has been a prominent member of Second Baptist for much of his adult life.

In its statement to the Chronicle, Second Baptist said “our policy and practice have been and will continue to be that any complaint of sexual misconduct will be heard, investigated and handled in a lawful and appropriate way. Reports of sexual abuse are immediately reported to law enforcement officials as required by law.”In this 1986 file photo, Dr. Ed Young stands in front of a new worship center at Houston's Second Baptist Church. Young in the 1990s served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Photo: John Van Beekum

In this 1986 file photo, Dr. Ed Young stands in front of a new worship center at Houston’s Second Baptist Church. Young in the 1990s served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. (John Van Beekum | Houston Chronicle)’Break her down’

Another defendant in the lawsuit against Pressler: Paige Patterson, a former SBC president who, with Pressler, pushed the convention in the 1980s and 1990s to adopt literal interpretations of the Bible.

In May of last year, Patterson was ousted as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth after he said he wanted to meet alone with a female student who said she was raped so he could “break her down,” according to a statement from seminary trustees.

But his handling of sexual abuse dates back decades. Several women have said that Patterson ignored their claims that his ex-protégé, Darrell Gilyard, assaulted them at Texas churches in the 1980s; some of those allegations were detailed in a 1991 Dallas Morning News article.

The Gilyard case bothered Debbie Vasquez. She feared other victims had been ignored or left to handle their trauma alone.

When Vasquez became pregnant, she said, leaders of her church forced her to stand in front of the congregation and ask for forgiveness without saying who had fathered the child.

She said church members were generally supportive but were never told the child was their pastor’s. Church leadership shunned her, asked her to get an abortion and, when she said no, threatened her and her child, she said. She moved abroad soon after.

Vasquez sued her former pastor and his church in 2006. In a deposition, the pastor, Dale “Dickie” Amyx, admitted to having sex with her when she was a teenager, though he maintained that it was consensual. He acknowledged paternity of her child but was never charged with any crime. Amyx was listed as the church’s pastor as late as 2016, state Baptist records show. He could not be reached for comment.

Amyx denies that he threatened or physically assaulted Vasquez. He and his employer at the time of the lawsuit — an SBC church Vasquez never attended — argued that Vasquez exaggerated her story in an attempt to get publicity for her fight for reforms, court records show.

Amyx wrote an apology letter that Vasquez provided to the newspapers; her lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but she continued pressing SBC leaders, including Patterson, to act. In one series of emails, she asked Patterson why leaders didn’t intervene in cases such as Gilyard’s.

Patterson responded forcefully, writing in 2008 that he “forced Gilyard to resign his church” and “called pastors all over the USA and since that day (Gilyard) has never preached for any Southern Baptist organization.”

In fact, Gilyard preached after his Texas ouster at various churches, including Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church, which was led by former SBC President Jerry Vines. It was there that Tiffany Thigpen said she met Gilyard, who she said later “viciously” attacked her.

Thigpen, who was 18 at the time, said that Vines tried to shame her into silence after she disclosed the abuse to him. “How embarrassing this will be for you,” she recalled Vines telling her. As far as Thigpen knows, police were never notified.

Gilyard was convicted in 2009 of lewd and lascivious molestation of two other teenage girls, both under 16, while pastoring a Florida church. He found work at an SBC church after his three-year prison sentence, prompting the local Southern Baptist association to end its affiliation.

Neither Vasquez nor Thigpen have forgiven SBC leaders for their inaction.

Vasquez: “They made excuses and did nothing.”

Thigpen said of Vines in a recent interview: “You left this little sheep to get hurt and then you protected yourself. And I hope when you lay your head on your pillow you think of every girl (Gilyard) hurt and life he ruined. And I hope you can’t sleep.”

Patterson and Vines did not respond to requests for comment. Heath Lambert, now senior pastor at First Baptist in Jacksonville, said in a statement that “we decry any act of violence or abuse.”Former SBC President Paige Patterson speaks to the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio in 2007. Last year, Patterson was ousted as head of a Fort Worth seminary for his mishandling of reports of rapes made by female students. (Morris Goen/San Antonio Express News)

Former SBC President Paige Patterson speaks to the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio in 2007. Last year, Patterson was ousted as head of a Fort Worth seminary for his mishandling of reports of rapes made by female students. (Morris Goen/San Antonio Express News) ‘Lethal’ abuse

Defensive responses from church leaders rank among the worst things the abused can endure, says Harvey Rosenstock, a Houston psychiatrist who has worked for decades with victims and perpetrators of clergy sexual abuse. They can rewire a developing brain to forever associate faith or authority with trauma or betrayal, he says.

“If someone is identified as a man of God, then there are no holds barred,” he said. “Your defense system is completely paralyzed. This man is speaking with the voice of God. … So a person who is not only an authority figure, but God’s servant, is telling you this is between us, this is a special relationship, this has been sanctioned by the Lord. That allows a young victim to have almost zero defenses. Totally vulnerable.”

Rosenstock is among a growing number of expert clinicians who advocate for changes in statute of limitations laws in sexual abuse cases. They cite decades of neuroscience to show that those abused as children — particularly by clergy — can develop a sort of Stockholm syndrome that prevents them for decades from recognizing themselves as victims.

Such was the case for most of David Pittman’s life.

“Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine — whatever would quiet my mind and diminish what I was feeling, because I wanted to be numb,” he said. “I didn’t want to feel any of it.”

An athletic child with an incarcerated father, Pittman said he had dreamed about joining the youth group at his church near Atlanta since he was baptized there at age 8.

There, he could play any sport he wanted, and at 12 he found in the youth pastor a much-sought father figure. The grooming started almost immediately, he said: front-seat rides in the youth pastor’s Camaro; trips to see the Doobie Brothers and Kansas in concert; and, eventually, sleepovers during which Pittman said he was first molested. Pittman said the assaults continued until he turned 15 and the youth pastor quietly moved to a new church nearby.

“For the longest time, I wouldn’t even admit to myself that it happened,” he said.

Three decades later, in 2006, Pittman learned that his alleged abuser was working as a youth minister in Georgia. Though Georgia’s statute of limitations had by then elapsed, Pittman and others came forward with allegations.

Like Pittman, Ray Harrell grew up without a male figure in his life. His father left early, he said, and his mother later “threw herself” into the church. Eventually the youth minister started babysitting Harrell, then a pre-teen. Harrell still remembers the minister’s stuffed monkey, which was used to “break the ice,” he said.

“This is a youth minister and the only male influence in my life and so I never thought anything about it,” Harrell said in an interview. “And when the abuse started…. I knew it was wrong, but this is somebody I was supposed to believe in, to look up to, who was in the church.”

Pittman reached out to the church’s lead pastor and chairman of the church’s deacons.

The deacon said in an interview that he confronted the youth minister and “asked him if there had ever been anything in his past and he acknowledged that there had been.” The minister also told the deacon that he had gotten “discreet” counseling, the deacon said.

The youth minister resigned, after which the deacon and others began looking through a Myspace account that he had while employed at the church. On it, the deacon found messages “that the police should have,” he said.

The deacon said he provided the Georgia State Baptist Convention with evidence that the youth minister should be barred from working in churches.

The youth minister who Pittman and Harrell say abused them still works at an SBC church in Georgia. The church’s lead pastor declined to say if he was ever made aware of the allegations, though Pittman provided emails that show he reached out to the pastor repeatedly.

The youth minister did not return phone calls. Reached by email, he declined to be interviewed. The newspapers are not identifying him because he has not been charged.

Anne Marie Miller says she, too, has been denied justice. In July, Mark Aderholt, a former employee of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and a former missionary, was charged in Tarrant County with sexually assaulting Miller in the late 1990s, when she was a teenager. Texas eliminated its statute of limitations for most sex crimes against children in 2007.

In 2007, Miller told the SBC’s International Mission Board about Aderholt after he was hired there, prompting an internal investigation that officials said supported her story. Aderholt resigned and worked at SBC churches in Arkansas before moving to South Carolina, where he worked for the state’s Baptist convention.

Miller, meanwhile, was told to “let it go” when she asked mission board officials about the investigation.

‘Well, they are bad, and they should look bad. Because they have ignored this issue.’

the Rev. Thomas Doyle, who has urged SBC leaders to act on sexual abuse

“Forgiveness is up to you alone,” general counsel Derek Gaubatz wrote in one 2007 email. “It involves a decision by you to forgive the other person of the wrongs done to you, just as Christ has forgiven you.”

After Aderholt’s arrest, a mission board spokeswoman said it did not notify his future SBC employers about the allegations in 2007 because of local church autonomy. The board also said that Miller at the time did not want to talk with police. She says that was because she was still traumatized.

The charges against Aderholt are pending.

Miller, 38, lives in the Fort Worth area. She says she has received support from Greear, the new SBC president. But she’s skeptical that the SBC will act decisively.

“I was really, really hopeful that it was a turning point, but I’ve been disappointed that there hasn’t been any meaningful action other than forming committees and assigning budgets, which is just good old Baptist red tape,” Miller said. “That’s just what you do — you form a committee, and you put some money towards it and no change actually happens.”

The election last year of Greear, the 45-year-old pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., was seen as a signal that the SBC was moving away from more rigid conservative leaders such as Patterson. Greear has launched a group that is studying sexual abuse at the request of Burleson and others.

Unlike in 2008, Burleson last year directed his request for a sex offender registry to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which does moral advocacy on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention. For the first time, the study of his proposal has been funded.

But Greear said in an email that he is limited by local church autonomy.

“Change has to begin at the ground level with churches and organizations,” he wrote. “Our churches must start standing together with a commitment to take this issue much more seriously than ever before.”