06 Reader’s Guide and Bibliography

  • OVERVIEW
  • READER’S GUIDE ~ FOUR KEY ARTICLES
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY
  • 2011 ~ News Reports and Analysis Articles
  • 2012 ~ News Reports and Analysis Articles
  • 2013 ~ News Reports and Analysis Articles
  • Systemic Issues ~ Analysis and Commentary, Especially on Southern Baptist Convention Churches

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OVERVIEW

This page includes a “reader’s guide” with five key online articles. These have been selected and annotated to give a big-picture overview of the Prestonwood Baptist Church/John Langworthy situation.

This page also includes an extensive chronological bibliography on the Prestonwood/Langworthy situation, plus a select bibliography on the systemic issues mentioned. These bibliographies are draw from news reports, analysis, and commentary provided by news agency writers and Christian “citizen journalist” bloggers.

Don’t let the length of the bibliographies overwhelm you. They are designed to capture as many posts as possible, in case later researchers want to use this as a case study. But the everyday person interested in the case could find that simply reading the titles and the occasional quotes gives a great overview of the Prestonwood/Langworthy situation. Also, several KEY ARTICLES are noted. These give important historical overviews and analysis.

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READER’S GUIDE ~ FOUR KEY ARTICLES

It turns out there is a very well documented trail of unresolved issues and unanswered questions in the Prestonwood/Langworthy situation. If you’re interested in understanding the larger context that leads up to present-day responses from PBC leaders and staff, then I’ve selected four articles that I think give you a pretty good “MRI” composite of the situation.

Here’s what I recommend to read – including the links in each article. (And I put them in an order that starts with the big picture and then gets into progressively more detail. So if you read only the first article, you’ll still have an excellent overview of the whole thing.) I selected articles by or about key people whom God’s providence has swept into the Prestonwood storyline, and also share why I think each particular article is important. (Note: These articles also appear in the bibliography section below.)

1. Prestonwood saga shows clergy abuse database is overdue, by Christa Brown, Associated Baptist Press (August 19, 2011). This gives an important historical framework of Prestonwood/Langworthy details, plus explains why, as Ms. Brown states, “a systemic problem requires a systemic solution” – like a registry of ministers who have been sexual predators.

NOTE: There are two broken links in this editorial. Because they are crucial to an overview and timeline of events, they are restored here and in the bullet list immediately below: (1) Paragraph #2: “The danger was revealed most recently in news about a former minister of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas.” (2) Paragraph #3: “ When this ‘disturbing revelation’ made headlines, Prestonwood’s executive pastor, Mike Buster, acknowledged that, in 1989, Prestonwood had received an allegation that Langworthy ‘acted inappropriately with a teenage student.’”

2. Does the SBC Fear Women Pastors More Than The Molestation of Children? by Dee Parsons, The Wartburg Watch (August 12, 2011). This historical overview and analysis also catalogs leftover core questions that are still being asked today because of PBC’s apparent failure to report.

  • It includes an important quote from Wade Burleson, Southern Baptist Convention pastor and advocate of an SBC sexual predators registry and other elements for a “systems response” to sexual abuse and prevention. The link is broken to Pastor Burleson’s original post from which the quote was drawn. However, that August 10, 2011, post is available on the internet archive Wayback Machine: Full Circle: Why the SBC Child Predator Database Is Needed Now More Than Ever.

3. Memories Don’t Know Time: Shining the Light on Child Sexual Abuse, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (October 13, 2011). In this key article, Ms. Smith documents the events and evidence in the case of John Langworthy/Prestonwood Baptist Church, for approximately the previous year, beginning in August 2010. If it had not been for her personal pursuit of justice in this case, it’s unlikely Mr. Langworthy would have been stopped anytime soon. She also offers a range of practical help and recovery resources for survivors of abuse.

4. Prestonwood Baptist vs. Chris Tynes: Something is Very Wrong! by Dee Parsons (March 8, 2013). This offers a historical overview, plus information on emerging issues that brings things up to date. It also contains Ms. Parsons’ critical analysis of ongoing questions about the Prestonwood/Langworthy situation, and how PBC treats questioners and reporters.

 

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~ Prestonwood Baptist Church ~ #pbcsilentnomore

BIBLIOGRAPHY

[Last update June 13, 2013.]

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NOTES: Reports from the Clarion Ledger are noteworthy since this news agency is based in Jackson, Mississippi – the region where John Langworthy worked both before and after being on staff with Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.

When online articles have been reposted, those links to reposts are often included here because blog comments are an important source of insights into the public discussion of issues, and different sets of commenters may frequent different blogs.

2011 ~ News Reports and Analysis Articles

Fundamentalists of Forgotten Way, Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What? (June 9, 2011). Quote:

Joe Barron, a minister to married adults at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, was arrested for soliciting sex from a minor. That minor turned out to be an undercover detective. When the news broke out this arrest, Jack Graham, the pastor of Prestonwood, said to his congregation, “Our church has experienced a heartbreaking and tragic week. We are appalled by the disgraceful actions and subsequent arrest of one of our ministers. I am so sorry for the injury this grievous situation has caused. We have requested and received the resignation of Joe Barron effective immediately. He is no longer a member of the Prestonwood staff,”

Other reports of his comments have him thanking both the police and the reporters for their coverage of the scandal. He is quoted in the May 19, 2008 edition of Texas On Line as saying:

“We work very hard to earn your trust and maintain the testimony of our congregation in the community,” Graham continued in his comments to the church. “You can be sure we always make every effort to provide a staff of godly integrity and devotion. I am confident that our ministers are of the highest character and are faithfully fulfilling their calling with accountability.”

Wolves in the Music Ministry, by New BBC Open Forum (June 15, 2011).

Link here to a “rich text” document with a TRANSCRIPT of John Langworthy’s August 7, 2011 statement to Morrison Heights Baptist Church, provided by New BBC Open Forum (August 7, 2011).

Disturbing revelations about former Prestonwood minister, by Brett Shipp WFAA (August 8, 2011). Reposted on: Black Collar Crimes. Rapture Ready forum.

Abuse confession raises questions of cover-up by Baptist mega-church, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (August 9, 2011).

The Catholics Aren’t The Only Ones Who Cover Up Their Clergy’s Evils, by Dr. Jim West, Zwinglius Redivivus (August 9, 2011).

Clinton minister quits over allegations, by Dustin Barnes (August 9, 2011).

Clinton music minister makes eye-opening confession, by Howard Ballou, WLBT, WDBD (August 9, 2011).

Former Prestonwood minister admits to ‘sexual indiscretions’ with students more than 20 years ago, by Tom Benning, DallasNews.Com (August 9, 2011).

In the Langworthy/Prestonwood Story, Bloggers Once Again Show They are Sorely Needed to Get Truth Out, by FBC Jax Watchdog (August 10, 2011).

Former Minister, Teacher Makes Startling Admission: John Langworthy Resigns From Morrison Heights Baptist Church, by WAPT News (August 10, 2011). [VIDEO, 03:32. This is a clip from the 12:30 version available here: Admitted minister-molester: “I was not asked to resign”.] Link here to a “rich text” document with a TRANSCRIPT of John Langworthy’s August 7, 2011 statement to Morrison Heights Baptist Church, provided by New BBC Open Forum.

Christa Brown Makes Clear Case for Predator Database in Light of Langworthy/Prestonwood Scandal, by FBC Jax Watchdog (August 11, 2011).

Pastor renews call for database of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (August 11, 2011).

Does the SBC Fear Women Pastors More Than The Molestation of Children? by Dee Parsons, The Wartburg Watch (August 12, 2011). This is a KEY ARTICLE for its historical overview and analysis, including leftover core questions that are still being asked today.

Prestonwood Baptist Church did not report known child molester to authorities? by Full Court Press Against Modernism and Apostasy (August 12, 2011). “All credit for this story finally being broken goes to a lady named Amy Smith who in the face of great personal cost to herself, refused to remain silent about the cover up at Prestonwood Baptist Church and the lies of pastor Jack Graham.

Alleged victim of Southern Baptist music minister John Langworthy steps forward (was allegedly molested at age 10 -12) Prestonwood Sex Abuse scandal, by Full Court Press Against Modernity and Apostasy (August 16, 2011).

Prestonwood saga shows clergy abuse database is overdue, by Christa Brown, Associated Baptist Press (August 19, 2011).  This is a KEY ARTICLE for its historical overview and analysis, and for its explaining why “a systemic problem requires a systemic solution” – like a registry of ministers who have been sexual predators.

This Transcript of Matt’s Call of August 20, 2011, shares Matthew Smith’s phone call to his father-in-law, who was a deacon at Prestonwood Baptist Church in 1989 when the allged molestation by John Langworthy at PBC came to light. This is a KEY ARTICLE: Read this carefully for facts and insights into what actually happened in 1989 and afterwards as to the “handling discreetly” of the situation.

Wolves in the Music Ministry – Part 2, by New BBC Open Forum (August 25, 2011). This post is home to 264 comments plus a large list of news sources from August 9-20, 2011 – including 10 newspaper articles, 12 TV reports, and more than 10 other sources around the internet on the Prestonwood/Langworthy story and/or the larger systemic issues for failure to report sexual abuse or set up a registry of sexual predators who have used ministry roles.

Abuse case talks called privileged, by Ruth Ingram, Clarion Ledger (August 27, 2011).

Prosecutors want information from church about former minister suspected of child abuse, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (September 1, 2011).

Former Dallas area youth minister faces child sexual assault charges in Mississippi thanks to efforts of Houston SNAP leader, SNAP DFW (September 7, 2011).

Former music minister charged with sex crimes, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (September 8, 2011).

Mississippi rep seeks secrecy for church, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (September 8, 2011). This article profiles some of the background of the Morrison Heights Baptist Church’s attorney, Philip Gunn, who is both an elder at the church and an elected representative for the State of Mississippi. Ms. Brown posted three updates in this article:

Philip Gunn’s role in child sex case, WJTV, 11/22/11 (“It’s ironic that … Gunn supports a law requiring the supporting of child abuse.” In the face of the Penn State scandal, I guess Gunn’s talk sounds good for his political career, but he doesn’t walk the talk. In the face of allegations at his own church, he has told church leaders that they shouldn’t talk to prosecutors about what an accused minister-molester told them.)

Expert disputes Gunn’s defense in sex abuse case, WJTV, 11/25/11 (“The law’s primary concern is not to protect ministers … but to protect children.”)

Email shows Gunn’s role in sex abuse case, WJTV, 11/29/11 (“Gunn would not allow prosecutors to question church leaders about what they know about John Langworthy’s case” … and he “tried to take steps to keep abuse allegations against Langworthy silent.”)

Admitted minister-molester: “I was not asked to resign” [VIDEO. 12:30. Video is John Langworthy’s statement at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Mississippi. It is dated August 7, 2011.] by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (September 9, 2011). Link here to a “rich text” document with a TRANSCRIPT of John Langworthy’s August 7, 2011 statement to Morrison Heights Baptist Church, provided by New BBC Open Forum.

Very disappointing, Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What (September 11, 2011).

Ex-Minister Faces Multiple Sex Charges in Small Mississippi Town, by R. Leigh Coleman, The Christian Post U.S. (September 16, 2011).

Former music minister indicted, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (September 29, 2011).

“Jack Graham: Deceiver, believer or in-betweener?” by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (October 1, 2011).

Memories Don’t Know Time: Shining the Light on Child Sexual Abuse, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (October 13, 2011). This is a KEY ARTICLE. In it, Ms. Smith documents the events and evidence in the case of John Langworthy/Prestonwood Baptist Church, for approximately the previous year, beginning in August 2010. She also offers a range of practical help and recovery resources for survivors of abuse.

Former Clinton Minister Pleads Not Guilty To Sex Charges: Langworthy Faces Gratification Of Lust Charges, WAPT News (October 18, 2011).

Trial date set for accused clergy predator, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (October 18, 2011). Reposted on: Word and Way.

Trial set for former Clinton music minister accused in sexual abuse, Clarion Ledger (October 18, 2011).

Protecting a program before a child, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (November 7, 2011). Draws upon some lessons from the Penn State scandal and suggestions that when an organization protects their programs more than protecting children, they share blame with the perpetrator of the abuse as enablers. She details some of the parallels to the actions and inactions of executive leadership at Prestonwood Baptist Church in the case of John Langworthy.

Penn State and Prestonwood: Consequences are necessary, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (November 10, 2011).

News Analysis: Churches not typically first reporters of sexual abuse, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (November 22, 2011).

Church leader questioned about handling of sexual abuse allegation, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (November 30, 2011). Reposted on: The Christian Century.

Seminary Trustee, Lawyer, Tells Church Leaders to Not Speak to Police About Meetings They Had With Molester, by FBC Jax Watchdog (December 1, 2011).

What we already know about John Langworthy and Morrison Heights presents serious questions, by Cottonmouth (December 1, 2011). Includes a timeline based on various pieces of public information, plus several key questions that keep coming up.

Vigilance: the only protection against child sexual abuse, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (December 18, 2011). Includes details about the issue of John Langworthy’s pharmacy technician certification.

Penn State’s Culture of Loyalty, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (December 19, 2011). Some analysis of the Penn State culture, and how that potentially shows up in the situation at Prestonwood Baptist Church.

SNAP protests pharmacy license for accused predator, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (December 19, 2011).

If you were a victim of sexual abuse by John Langworthy at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (December 20, 2011).

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2012 ~ News Reports and Analysis Articles

Child sex abuse: When concern for institutional risk trumps the truth, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (January 17, 2012).

My interview on The Matt Patrick Show on Houston’s morning news AM740 KTRH [AUDIO with slides. 04:18.] Amy Smith, Watch Keep (undated, but was recorded sometime between January 15 and February 15, 2012.) This audio focuses on proposed change in Texas laws for therapists reporting adult survivors who disclose victimization through childhood sexual abuse. This interview also contains some very important points on why it is crucial to report known/suspected sexual abuse in order to validate victims and help prevent others from being victimized.

You’ve got to read and obey the bill: Philip Gunn and the Mississippi Child Protection Act: Mississippi House passes protection act for children, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (February 17, 2012). [VIDEO. 02:37. Email Highlights Philip Gunn’s Role in Sex Abuse Case.]

John Langworthy criminal trial in Mississippi, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (April 13, 2012).

Secret History of Sexual Abuse: Great is the truth, and it prevails, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (June 10, 2012). [VIDEO. 02:37. Email Highlights Philip Gunn’s Role in Sex Abuse Case.]

Stop Baptist Predators: Pastor accused of cover-up is featured speaker for Southern Baptist Convention, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (June 16, 2012).

Turn the light on sexual abuse, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (August 31, 2012).

This is my story: I had to get someone to listen, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (September 27, 2012).

Time may jeopardize sex charges, Clarion Ledger (October 24, 2012).

Former minister fights molestation charge, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (October 25, 2012).

Prestonwood Baptist: A Heroic Stand Amidst Parental and Church Betrayal, by Dee Parsons, The Wartburg Watch (October 25, 2012). The account of Amy Smith, a brave young woman, who endured rejection by her parents, in order to bring to light the story of a pedophile, John Langworthy.

Enabling a serial child sexual predator: Prestonwood Baptist Church and John Langworthy, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (November 27, 2012). [VIDEO. 02:18. Langworthy Rejected Sex Crimes Plea Deal.] This article also includes the full video of John Langworthy’s statement to the Morrison Heights Baptist Church congregation. [VIDEO. 12:30.] Repost: BishopAccountability.Org. Quote:

If Langworthy’s superiors at Prestonwood had actually acted on the information they had about his crimes in 1989 instead of trying to cover them up, Langworthy would have been jailed long ago. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and he was allowed to move on to unsuspecting churches, schools and communities placing even more kids at risk by enabling his serial predatory behavior.

While we hope the secular justice system may finally discipline Langworthy, the question remains: are church authorities – at these two congregations or higher up the Baptist hierarchy – going to discipline church staff who ignored or concealed Langworthy’s crimes, allowing him to walk free and hurt others? For church authorities to do nothing about those who enable child sex crimes is inexcusable and only encourages other church staff to act irresponsibly in the future. (Emphasis added.)

Former Prestonwood Minister’s Attorney Wants Sex Abuse Case Dropped, Associated Press/CBS DFW (November 27, 2012).

Texas Minister Arrested, Admits To Molesting Boys In Two States [Listen], by Martha Martinez (November 27, 2012).

Trial delayed for accused molester, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (November 27, 2012).

State’s Response in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, Court document in the case of John Langworthy, filed December 14, 2012. This is a KEY DOCUMENT for the prosecution because it contains details of John Langworthy’s crimes, and also cites a Texas individual who is one of the Prestonwood Baptist Church victims.

Accused child predator must stand trial, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (December 18, 2012).

Child predator John Langworthy to face trial, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (December 18, 2012). [VIDEO. 01:46. Judge Denies Motion To Dismiss Langworthy Child Sex Crimes.]

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2013 ~ News Reports and Analysis Articles

Baptists should heed mother’s plea, by Christa Brown, Associated Baptist Press (January 20, 2013).

Ex-choir Director, Minister Pleads Guilt to Child Molestation, by Ruth Ingram (January 22, 2013). Reposted on: BishopAccountability.Org.

Former minister pleads guilty to abuse, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (January 22, 2013).

John Langworthy, convicted child sex offender, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (January 22, 2013). [VIDEO. 02:09. Admitted Sex Offender Avoids Jail Time.]

No prison time for admitted child molester John Langworthy, former Clinton church minister, choir director, by Ruth Ingram, Clarion Ledger (January 22, 2013).

EDITORIAL: Langworthy’s ‘no jail time’ is example of how system works (unfortunately), Clarion Ledger (January 23, 2013).

No prison for molester termed unfair, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (January 24, 2013).

Texas – Preacher molested “another” Texas boy, DA says, by Amy Smith, SNAP/Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (January 25, 2013). This article outlines the survivors’ awareness event protest to be held at Prestonwood Baptist Church on January 26th. It also contains some important historical notes, following the conviction of John Langworthy in January 2013. Quotes:

  • However, the prosecutor also disclosed that Langworthy molested “another boy in the 1980s while the boy attended Prestonwood Baptist Church.” This revelation is the first time any law enforcement official publicly acknowledged that Langworthy had committed crimes in Texas. (Emphasis added.)
  • However, in August 2011, from his pulpit in Mississippi, Langworthy admitted “ungodly sexual indiscretions with younger males” while he worked at Prestonwood. [Note the plural.]
  • The Mississippi court records show that Langworthy began molesting kids when he was 20. One of his victims was six years old.

Heal the wounded, protect the vulnerable, prevent the abuse: Prestonwood Baptist Church and John Langworthy, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (January 27, 2013).

Abuse cover-up alleged at SBC church, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (January 28, 2013).

Sadness, Abuse and John Langworthy, by Sherry LeFils (January 28, 2013).

Former Pastor May Have Had More Victims [VIDEO. 02:49], CBS DFW – Dallas Fort Worth. Video link: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8249495. News report includes an interview with Amy Smith. (January 26, 2013) and scenes of silent protestors on January 26, at Prestonwood Baptist Church. The report mentions the plea arrangement in which John Langworthy pleaded guilty.) See related news article, Baptists should heed mother’s call for accountability by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (January 29, 2013).

Amy Smith’s persistence brings justice in John Langworthy abuse case: Woman’s commitment, persistence bring justice, by Ruth Ingram, Clarion Ledger (February 6, 2013).

A survivor speaks in a Mississippi courtroom to Langworthy: It’s about bringing darkness to light, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (February 6, 2013).

Justice quest begins with phone call, ends with conviction, by Ruth Ingram, Clarion Ledger (February 7, 2013).

‘Fairness’ can be elusive outcome in criminal sentencing, by Emily Lane with contributions by Ruth Ingram, Clarion Ledger (February 8, 2013).

I had to get someone to listen, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (February 8, 2013).

People to remember in the Prestonwood/Morrison Heights scandal (February 9, 2013).

Dr. Anna Salter, Ph.D. in clinical psychology on prevention of sexual abuse: Sandusky, Langworthy and predators like them, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (February 19, 2013).

MS – Child predator loses pharmacy license, by David Clohessy, SNAP (February 21, 2013).

Sex offenders in the Church like John Langworthy: Who they are and how they operate, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (February 27, 2013).

Sex offender loses pharmacy license, Associated Baptist Press (March 1, 2013).

Prestonwood Security uses Threats and Intimidation tactics [VIDEO. 02:05] Posted by crtynes77 on March 5, 2013. Quote:

The very next day, the Police called me to notify me that Prestonwood filed a complaint against me and I had to explain how/why I was not violent and why I even wanted to ask a question. I was also told again they did not want me back on campus ever again. I know this doesn’t make any sense so all we can do is raise awareness of their actions.

I was sitting on the hood of my car patiently waiting to ask Mike Buster why he cancelled our meeting when 3 security guards came out of the building, including the director of Security. The Dir got right in my personal space as you can see and I was lucky I pressed record properly as I couldn’t see the screen. I missed the first minute or so of the conversation. This is unbelievable!!

Member of Prestonwood says he was kicked out for questions [VIDEO. 02:05], by MosesModel (March 6, 2013).

Church calls cops on inquiring member: A Texas church has shunned a layman trying to get to the bottom of an alleged cover up of sexual abuse decades ago. By Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (March 8, 2013).

Megachurch calls cops on member who speaks out, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (March 8, 2013).

Prestonwood Baptist Doesn’t Call the Cops on the Molester, But They Call the Cops on the Church Member Who Asks Questions About the Molester, by FBC Jax Watchdog (March 8, 2013).

“Prestonwood Baptist Church doesn’t seem to understand the power of social media yet.” By New BBC Open Forum (March 8, 2013). Quote:

That title is a timely quote by Chris Tynes, a 14-year member of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. It seems Tynes recently learned about Prestonwood’s 20-plus-year cover-up of John Langworthy’s abuse of young boys while Langworthy was in their employ. Tynes, to say the least, is not happy.

His Twitter feed gives an account of the events of this week which followed after he was denied the opportunity to meet with one of Prestonwood’s ministers, Mike Buster, to ask some questions about the church’s handling of the Langworthy situation. These are the same questions others have been asking for almost two years and have not received any answers, so Tynes is not alone. The “biblical church model” for dealing with anything distasteful in many of today’s churches, particularly the big businesses aka megachurches, is to sweep it under the rug. Ignore it. Hope it goes away. And if anyone dares ask questions, he becomes the problem. Image and power trump the safety of children or doing the right (and lawful) thing.

This blog was the first to expose John Langworthy after an “anonymous” comment by an author I verified and found to be credible. Thus Amy Smith was thrust into the spotlight along with Sherry LeFils, two tenacious women who saw to it that the sins of John Langworthy did not continue to be swept “under the blood.” The original article appeared here. […]

Prestonwood Baptist vs. Chris Tynes: Something is Very Wrong! by Dee Parsons (March 8, 2013). This is a KEY ARTICLE for its historical overview, information of emerging issues, and analysis of the ongoing questions about the Prestonwood/Langworthy situation, and how PBC treats questioners and reporters.

Southern Baptist Texas mega church Prestonwood calls cops on a member who had a questions, by Bene Diction Blogs On (March 8, 2013).

Abuses of Power, by Eric Fry, Being Perfectly Human (March 9, 2013).

Monday Dilemma: Filing a police complaint on a church member, Todd Rhoades – adapting the Associated Baptist Press report of March 8 (March 11, 2013). Mr. Rhoades often poses controversies for church leaders to consider. After sharing much of the ABP report, he asks some important application questions:

  • I’m sure that there’s more than meets the eye here… but from what is written here… do you think the church is responding appropriately?  Why or why not?
  • I’d love to hear your thoughts?
  • And… have you (or would you ever) file a police report on a member of your church for an incident like this?
  • Would you have deleted facebook and twitter posts?  Or responded to them publicly?

Church calls cops on member inquiring about child abuse case , by God O Rama: Religion in America (March 12, 2013). Reposted at Daily Kos (March 12, 2013).

Notes from Baptist hell, by Mojoey, Deep Thoughts (March 12, 2013).

An Open Letter to Jack Graham, Jeff Young, and the Congregation of Prestonwood Baptist Church, by Eric Fry, Being Perfectly Human (March 12, 2013). Includes sections: To Pastor Jack Graham, to Jeff Young (Minister of Spiritual Development), and to PBC Congregants.

Baptist Church’s Alleged Cover Up, by Russel Langley (March 13, 2013). Short article on the situation of Chris Tynes and PBC. Reposts: here and here.

Church calls cops on inquiring member???, by Dawn Marie, Take A Look (March 9, 2013). Focuses on PBC’s confrontation with Chris Tynes. The author and commenters have also done research to post links and media excerpts from (1) the 1989 admission of adultery of Prestonwood Baptist Church’s then pastor, Bill Webber and (2) the 2008 situation of Joe Barron, a pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, who was caught in an online sting operation where a police officer posed as a 13-year-old girl.

When “The Impossible” Creates an Imperative: PBC’s Tsunami of Controversy, by Brad Sargent, guest post on Spiritual Sounding Board (March 10, 2013). Reposted on: BishopAccountability.orgPBC Silent No More.

Silence and Confession, by Eric Fry, Being Perfectly Human (March 14, 2013). Quote:

Silence speaks volumes. There’s an old saying that goes around twelve-step groups when it comes to taking personal inventory and admitting one’s wrongs: “You are as sick as the secrets you keep.” […]

Personal, private confession is fine for individuals; a sin by a public entity such as a church, against the public at large, necessitates public confession.

People from all sorts of denominations are praying for Jack Graham [PBC Pastor], Mike Buster [PBC Executive Pastor], Jeff Young [PBC Minister of Spiritual Development], and Prestonwood Baptist Church, and will continue to pray even when they decide to break their silence. (Emphasis in the original.)

Social media posts cause discord between Prestonwood Baptist, member; by Jobin Panicker, WFAA (March 14, 2013). [VIDEO. 02:30.] This report focuses on Prestonwood Baptist Church’s confrontation with member and questioner Chris Tynes. The detailed response to the report by Mr. Tynes is located at this post on his Facebook page. In it, he responds to what are, in his opinion, seven questionable statements made by PBC Director of Administration Ben Lovvorn. Repost: Texas News Today. Analysis and editorial opinion from brad/futuristguy:

Only a few news agencies so far have picked up the Chris Tynes’ story, perhaps the most important being WFAA, a local news outlet that historically posted one of the more crucial news stories about John Langworthy, reporting his public confession in August of 2011. However, in a news clip WFAA aired the evening of March 14, 2013, the angle taken was – surprisingly – not about the victims and unresolved issues about PBC and John Langworthy, but seemingly about carrying out church conflict on social media: Social media posts cause discord between Prestonwood Baptist, member.

Already, as of 24 hours after the WFAA report focused on Chris Tynes aired, there has been some qualitatively significant push-back on the WFAA report. Much of this criticism has come from apparent members of the spiritual abuse and/or sexual abuse survivors communities, given their self-disclosures of person experiences in those areas. Their critical opinions expressed disappointment with the WFAA report lacking in investigative detail, providing a very spotty context for the conflict, and focusing on what are small issues in light of questions left unanswered by Prestonwood still since WFAA’s own piece in 2011.

Church defends calling cops on member, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (March 15, 2013). This report gives follow-up details on the incident of Prestonwood security guards, Chris Tynes, social media, and continued lack of responding to questions about John Langworthy. Repost: Prestonwood Baptist Church Defends Calling Police on Longtime Church Member on Black Christian News Network 1 (March 16, 2013).

Leading Off: Plano Man Makes Threats Against Pastor, by Front Burner: A Daily Conversation About Dallas (March 15, 2013).

Prestonwood BC Scandal Is a Deadly Poison, by Tom LeGrand, View From the Heights (March 15, 2013). A fellow Baptist takes Prestonwood Baptist Church to task and looks at some system issues about credibility for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Prestonwood Baptist Church lawyer calls parishoner a terrorist on WFAA – Chris Tynes very bad week continues, by Bene Diction Blogs On (March 16, 2013).

Boots, biscuits and the Prestonwood scandal, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (March 18, 2013). Quote:

In Texas, we’ve got a saying: “You can put your boots in the oven, but that don’t make ‘em biscuits.”

That’s what I keep wanting to tell officials at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, as I watch them trying to alter the reality of the clergy sex abuse cover-up scandal that’s engulfing them.

Plano Man Responds to Prestonwood Baptist by Bradford Pearson, Front Burner D Magazine (March 18, 2013). A follow-up to Front Burner’s article of March 16, and it includes a link to Chris Tynes’ point-by-point response to what happened as portrayed in the WFAA news report of March 14.

Slander or an Inconvenient Truth?, by Dee Parsons, The Wartburg Watch (March 18, 2013). Quote and comment:

Quote: It is not slander to express concern about the SGM lawsuit or the number of documents that have been released by Brent Detwiler. It is not slander to ask why Prestonwood Baptist Church did not report John Langworthy to the police. It is not slander to look at the associates involved in a business venture. It is not slander to ask if you pastor is paid by both the church and the conference at which he is speaking.

Comment from JeffT: dee wrote: That is why I tend to use the word “rape” to describe what is going on. It is more “in your face” and tends to rattle people.

Exactly! Which is why I use the terms “child molester” and “sexual predator” rather than “pedophile” – they more clearly speak to the horror of the acts and don’t make it sound so clinical.

Watch Keep Facebook comment of March 19, 2013. This comment is important for summarizing the contention of victims’ advocate Amy Smith about the range of leadership at Prestonwood who knew directly or indirectly about sexual molestation of minors by Mr. Langworthy. Quote:

Sean, There are multiple victims of Langworthy from his time at Prestonwood, not just the one whose mother has been discussed [in Sean’s previous comment]. Prestonwood staff other than Neal Jeffrey were aware of several. They had some of them talk to church attorneys. [Head Pastor] Jack [Graham] met with Langworthy, heard him confess and fired him but didn’t report the crimes. There are victims Prestonwood isn’t even aware of. One came forward just a few months ago that had never told anyone, ever until last October. He filed a police report with the Dallas police in January. We hope others will also come forward in TX and MS, call police, begin to heal and protect other kids.

Pastor says let God judge accusers, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (March 19, 2013). Dr. Jack Graham, Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, responds in his Sunday sermon to continued questions about the church’s dealings with now-convicted sex offender John Langworthy. Quote:

The pastor of a Texas Baptist megachurch, questioned about the handling of a staff member 24 years ago who was recently convicted of sex crimes in another state, noted in his Sunday sermon March 17 that Jesus didn’t answer his accusers during trials before religious and civil authorities 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem.

Watch Keep Facebook comment of March 20, 2013. This comment from victims’ advocate Amy Smith is important for emphasizing why reporting known/suspected sexual abuse of minors is crucial, and how it may take many years before victims may suffer in silence before reaching that kind of milestone. It refers to a previously unknown victim who first came forward in October 2012 and made a report to the Dallas police in January 2013.

David, there are victims Prestonwood doesn’t know about that have been suffering in silence for over 2 decades now. One of these victims of Langworthy’s child sex crimes had never told anyone, not even his parents until a few months ago. I have spoken with him. He has now filed a formal complaint with the Dallas police child exploitation unit. Justice and help for him could have been possible sooner if Prestonwood had reported Langworthy to law enforcement and publicly warned the church and parents so that more victims, like this one, could have felt safe to come forward then in 1989 before too much time had passed, making prosecution more difficult. That’s how Prestonwood helped Langworthy escape justice, wounded victims and endangered more kids. He should have been locked up in a TX prison decades ago and never made it back to MS.

Open Letter to Prestonwood, et al., Part 2, by Eric Fry, Being Perfectly Human (March 21, 2013). Includes sections: To Prestonwood Baptist Church and Pastor Jack Graham, to PBC Congregants, and to Jeff Young (Minister of Spiritual Development).

No, Answering for Pedophilia is not the same as Jesus’s Trial, by Unsettled Christianity (March 23, 2013).

Texas Pastor Responds to His Handling of a Child Sex Abuser on His Church Staff, AT2W (March 24, 2013).

Prestonwood Baptist Church: Silent No More, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (March 25, 2013). Some additional key facts about the number of victims, the attorney apparently in charge of Prestonwood/Langworthy matter in 1989, and one deacon at the time does not recall anyone going to the police. It also notes that: “I recently learned that after Prestonwood fired Langworthy in 1989, and he moved back to Mississippi, he continued to call the home of one of his victims from Prestonwood attempting to speak with him.”

In early April 2013, preparations were underway for a social media campaign to challenge Prestonwood Baptist Church leaders to answer questions and be accountable through a “PBC Silent No More.” A few days before the planned launch, it was discovered that someone had registered the Twitter account that would have gone with the campaign. So, means for an alternative campaign were arranged.

Why I (and probably many others) Think Most Churches Need to Shut Up About Gay Marriage, by Eric Fry, Being Perfectly Human (April 4, 2013). Uses Prestonwood as an negative example. Quote:

Why I (and probably many others) Think Most Churches Need to Shut Up About Gay Marriage. The reason is simple. Most churches have abdicated their basic responsibilities to defend victims of church abuse (physical, emotional, spiritual, and sexual) and instead merely want to maintain their status quo with as little disruption as possible. You can wave your Bible and quote verses all you want. No one cares, because you have lost that right. People are identifying with no religion at all, because they’ve seen and possibly been affected by the church’s hypocrisy. [… Uses Prestonwood example here.]

In all these cases, churches are trying to silence the people who want to hold them accountable for their actions and inactions. Yet they still think that they have the right to wave their Bibles and preach about morality and how gay marriage will destroy the fabric of society. Sorry, but they’re already doing a bang-up job on that themselves.

Letter to Neal Jeffrey. This was written April 5, 2013, to Pastor Neal Jeffrey at Prestonwood Baptist Church by Amy Smith’s husband, Matthew. In it, he gives his view of the last two years of Amy Smith’s activism that helped bring justice for child sexual abuse survivors of John Langworthy. It also asks pointed questions of leaders of Prestonwood Baptist Church, that they have yet to answer.

Of Questions and Cowards, by Matthew Smith, Watch Keep (April 10, 2013). This guest post by Amy Smith’s husband gives his view of the last two years of Amy Smith’s activism that helped bring justice for child sexual abuse survivors of John Langworthy. It also asks pointed questions of leaders of Prestonwood Baptist Church, that they have yet to answer.

Other than that, how was your dinner? by New BBC Open Forum (April 22, 2013). “Convicted child molester, John Langworthy, was spotted today dining in a Jackson, MS restaurant …”

Prestonwood Baptist Church: perceived vs. actual threats, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (May 14, 2013). Contains excerpts from the Plano Police Department “Suspicious Person” complaint filed by Prestonwood Baptist Church against Chris Tynes on March 5, 2013, and also links to other related documents and a video. Mr. Tynes was asking unwanted questions about former staff member John Langworthy.

Sexual abuse resolution proposed, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (May 16, 2013). “A Baptist blogger [Peter Lumpkins] says by continuing to support individuals and groups publicly accused of sexual abuse of children, SBC leaders are tarnishing the denomination’s name.” Also includes comments on the past few years of challenging Prestonwood Baptist Church to answer questions and be accountable on the situation with former staff member John Langworthy.

In May and June of 2013, a series of events unfolded that interweaves aspects of Prestonwood Baptist Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and advocacy in general for survivors of sexual abuse. Rather than duplicate these posts here, I have put them in the final section of this bibliography – System Issues. That block of online articles begins with: The Selective Outrage of Southern Baptists, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (May 23, 2013).

*       *       *       *       *

Systemic Issues ~ Analysis and Commentary, Especially on Southern Baptist Convention Churches

The SBC, being an association rather than a denomination, has failed to implement any sort of standard policies and procedures for reporting known/suspected child sexual abuse – regardless of state laws about mandatory reporting. It has also failed to create any viable registry of sexual predators, in order to prevent pedophiles from harming children at a series of churches and ministries. Some of the following articles do refer to the situation of John Langworthy and Prestonwood Baptist Church. But if so, there is significant emphasis on the systems issues woven into the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). I, for one, look forward to the day when our churches move from on emphasis on must-do interventions to willingly-do preventions. I hope it is soon …

Prestonwood hit by sex sting arrest, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (May 19, 2008). “No church is immune from the scourge of clergy sex abuse. A minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas has been charged with online solicitation of sex from a kid. […]Police are now investigating whether Barron may have previously engaged in sexual contact with minors. Meanwhile, pastor Jack Graham told church members, ‘We want to put this in our rearview mirror.’” Article contains additional links to news reports and analysis.

Statement of the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (June 10, 2008). This article is referenced in Baptists should heed mother’s call for accountability by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (January 29, 2013). Quote:

The Southern Baptist Convention’s chief executive officer, Morris Chapman, urged other church leaders to follow Graham’s example “in confronting this horrible crime, exposing it for what it is, and doing everything within our power to protect the children under the care of the ministries of our churches.”

But is that what Graham did with Langworthy? Did he do everything within his power to protect children? I expect most ordinary parents would say no.

Graham and other Prestonwood leaders simply allowed Langworthy to move on. They got him off their own turf, while leaving countless other kids at risk. And even as recently as 2011, Prestonwood’s executive pastor, Mike Buster, proudly described Prestonwood’s modus operandi of a quiet dismissal by saying that the church had “firmly and forthrightly” dealt with the Langworthy matter.

If that’s what Southern Baptists call being firm and forthright with clergy molestation allegations, then parents should keep their kids out of Southern Baptist churches.

From a link at the Stop Baptist Predators blog’s right-hand navigation bar: TIME names this issue as #6 in it’s list of top 10 underreported news story of 2008: “Southern Baptists decide against pedophilia database.” by Laura Fitzpatrick (November 3, 2008). Quote:

6. Southern Baptists decide against pedophilia database

By Laura Fitzpatrick. Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Facing calls to curb child sex abuse within its churches, in June the Southern Baptist Convention — the largest U.S. religious body after the Catholic Church — urged local hiring committees to conduct federal background checks but rejected a proposal to create a central database of staff and clergy who have been either convicted of or indicted on charges of molesting minors. The SBC decided against such a database in part because its principle of local autonomy means it cannot compel individual churches to report any information. And while the headlines regarding churches and pedophilia remain largely focused on Catholic parishes, the lack of hierarchical structure and systematized record-keeping in most Protestant churches makes it harder not only for church leaders to impose standards, but for interested parties to track allegations of abuse.

Lessons in Dealing with a Disgruntled Member, by Wade Burleson (March 3, 2009). Wade Burleson is a Southern Baptist pastor who “gets it” about survivors of spiritual abuse and other forms of abuse, and how difficult the process can be for recovery from the trauma these inflict. He has posted a number of helpful resources. This is a KEY ARTICLE. It addresses practical issues for leaders, such as: secret meetings and secret complaints; compassion, not confrontation; transparency, not terseness; and when leadership cares about people. He also uses as a case study the reprehensible responses of leaders at First Baptist Church Jacksonville, Florida, to questions being raised by a then-anonymous blogger at FBC Jax Watchdog. This situation resulted in significant bad press for the church, due to their own actions, and a lawsuit which was settled out of court.

What else are we to do?, Our Pastor Molested Me, Now What? (July 10, 2011).

Full Circle: Why the SBC Child Predator Database Is Needed Now More Than Ever, by Wade Burleson (August 10, 2011). Due to changes in Pastor Burleson’s blogs, this post is now available only on the internet archive Wayback Machine at the link given. It is important for its history of attempts in 2007 and 2008 to present systems solutions to the Southern Baptist Convention. It also uses the case of John Langworthy to illustrate how the existence of a Child Predator Database could have spared numerous children from being put at risk by the apparent failures of Prestonwood Baptist Church leaders to report Mr. Langworthy as a known/suspected pedophile, of Morrison Heights Baptist Church leaders to check on Mr. Langworthy’s record, and for the SBC to have a system to capture that data for the protection of children and families elsewhere.

In the Langworthy/Prestonwood Story, Bloggers Once Again Show They are Sorely Needed to Get Truth Out, by FBC Jax Watchdog (August 10, 2011).

Christa Brown Makes Clear Case for Predator Database in Light of Langworthy/Prestonwood Scandal, by FBC Jax Watchdog (August 11, 2011).

Pastor renews call for database of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (August 11, 2011).

Prestonwood saga shows clergy abuse database is overdue, by Christa Brown, Associated Baptist Press (August 19, 2011).

Enid pastor renews call for clergy sex abuse database, by Carla Hinton NewsOK (August 20, 2011). The Rev. Wade Burleson, senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, said a Southern Baptist Convention clergy sex abuse database is needed to prevent abusers from going from congregation to congregation undetected.

Penn State and Prestonwood: Consequences are necessary, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (November 10, 2011).

Penn State: Baptist theologian puts ignorance on display, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (November 16, 2011). “ ‘It would have been best for the alleged abuse victims at Penn State … to go directly to those who wronged them.’ So says Jim Denison, whose job title is “theologian-in-residence” for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. You might imagine that someone with a title as lofty as “theologian-in-residence” would be better educated. You would be wrong. Denison’s statement reveals a dangerous ignorance about the dynamics of child sex abuse. …”

Penn State lesson for Baptists: Outsiders needed for oversight, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (November 25, 2011).

Words alone won’t stop Baptist predators, by Christa Brown, Associated Baptist Press (November 30, 2011). On Penn State and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Jury Holds Baptist State Convention Liable for Pastor’s Sexual Abuse- Florida convention had hired Douglas W. Myers to plant two new churches, by Morgan Feddes, Christianity Today Gleanings: Important Developments in the Church and the World (May 23, 2012). Quote:

A Florida jury found the state chapter of the Southern Baptist Convention liable for the actions of a former pastor currently serving time for the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy.

The Lake County jury found that the convention failed to do an adequate background check on Douglas W. Myers, who was recruited to start two churches in the county. Myers pleaded guilty in 2007 to molesting the boy; he is currently in the midst of a seven-year prison sentence.

The victim and his mother sued the convention, alleging it hadn’t done enough to uncover allegations of inappropriate behavior with young boys at Myers’ previous churches in Alabama and Maryland, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Court testimony indicated no convention officials checked Myers’ references or called his previous churches, though a background search of his criminal, credit, and motor-vehicle records raised no suspicions. […]

Fate of Baptist pastor accused of abuse is in the hands of his flock, by Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (December 9, 2012).

Clergy sex abuse and ‘the silence of the many,’ by Christa Brown, Associated Baptist Press (January 21, 2013).

Child Sexual Abuse: It’s Not Just a Catholic Issue, by Samantha Parent Walravens in The Huffington Post (February 27, 2013). Considers three organizations in the U.S. and U.K. which have had child sexual abuse scandals in the previous year – Boy Scouts of America, Penn State University, and an Orthodox Jewish community in London. Quote:

A common theme in all of these cases is that the institutions involved chose to deal with the sexual abuse “in house” rather than going to law enforcement. The result? Lies, cover ups and an ongoing trail of abuse that continued far longer than it ever should have.

To regain trust and moral authority, these organizations need to handle child sexual abuse with transparency and honesty, instead of secrecy and deception. Secrecy is toxic, and in it, child abuse flourishes. They need to follow the mandatory child abuse reporting law, which requires adults working with children — in the role of teacher, coach, clergy and more — to report allegations of sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement. This includes abuse that is suspected, not confirmed.

How [Not To] Respond to Abuse Allegations: Christians and Sovereign Grace Ministries, by Rachel Held Evans (February 28, 2013). Early in 2013, controversy erupted in the class action lawsuit filed in October 2012 against Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) as an organization plus about 10 individual current and former leaders. At issue is alleged pastoral negligence in various issues, such as failure to report known instances of child sexual abuse that were told to them, and inflicting severe emotional trauma on child victims especially through damaging attempts at pastoral care. On February 26, 2013, SGM reported that they were attempting to use a First Amendment defense to dismiss the lawsuit, based on freedom of religion and that the lawsuit attacks the right of religious entities to govern their doctrinal beliefs and pastoral practices.

An uproar of opposition came from across the Christian blogosphere at the notion that the supposed rights of a church to govern its own internal affairs somehow trump moral and ethical responsibilities to report known perpetration of sexual abuse on children – even when there may not have been a legal responsibility to do so in a state with no mandatory reporting laws for clergy. It is one thing to fail to report. It is another to apparently excuse such behavior under the guise of “freedom of religion.” How should we NOT respond to abuse allegations? This article and others across the web on the same incident offer a case study in reprehensible legal maneuvering from SGM. Some of the other related articles:

A Church Group, a Lawsuit, and a Culture of Abuse, by T.F. Charlton (March 5, 2013). An important essay that overviews the history and suspect doctrines of the Sovereign Grace Ministries church network and how a dual culture of authoritarian leadership who condition overly submissive parishioners can lead to disastrous consequences in the lives of God’s people.

No More Silence: An interview with Boz Tchividjian of G.R.A.C.E., by Rachel Held Evans (March 18, 2013). A significant source of information about how things can be done either well or poorly in prevention and intervention involving sexual abuse. Quote:

The scourge of child sexual abuse is not just a sin violating the 7th Commandment in Exodus 20:14 and Matthew 5:27-30, but it is also a criminal offense in all 50 States. It is not a matter which can be handled quietly between two persons or between two families, as was misguidedly done in Genesis 34 and in many churches today. It is a matter of public alarm, because of its pervasive, extensive, and expansive nature, causing a cascade of misery in countless lives. Additionally, the God-ordained civil authorities in virtually every jurisdiction mandate in some fashion that suspected child abuse be immediately reported to law enforcement.

Thus, any claim that we must follow the Matthew 18 progressive confrontation process before reporting disclosures of child sexual abuse to the civil authorities is simply wrongheaded: God’s minister’s—the civil authorities—must be informed first!

In this, child sexual abuse is like murder. Anyone who would demand that the family of a murder victim must first follow the Matthew 18 process before calling the police could be criminally charged themselves for being an accessory after the fact. What kind of twisted mind would reason that kidnapping or rape ought to be concealed from the civil authorities while a process of church discipline is pursued first?

Methodist Church to review safeguarding, by Susie Turner, Christian Today (March 13, 2013).

The Methodist Church is to review every safeguarding matter it has dealt with in the last sixty years.

The Past Cases Review will be conducted independently.  Methodist Church leaders across the country will receive letters in the coming months asking them for details of all relevant cases dating back to 1950.

Initial findings from a pilot of the scheme indicate that approximately one third of cases arose when people sought help and support from the Church in dealing with incidents that had occurred outside of the Church community.

The Church says it is conducting the review to in order to “learn the lessons of the past”.

Slander or an Inconvenient Truth? on The Wartburg Watch (March 18, 2013). Especially note the blog comment by An Attorney in response to an off-topic comment about the Prestonwood child sexual abuse issues. Full quote:

Pastors are not equipped to investigate and evaluate possible cases of pedophilia and sexual abuse, or rape for that matter. Child sexual abuse is a very specialized investigation that even few police or DAs are competent to carry out. It requires special training, particularly getting an admissible interview with the victim that does not plant ideas in the process and result in the loss of the interview as evidence. A pastor receiving any indication of a possible instance must, must, must immediately report it to the appropriate agency and let them take it from there. Most states now have networks of trained interviewers and trained investigators for sexual abuse cases. Do not intervene and do not question a child — REPORT. (Emphasis added.)

Predatory Grooming in Our Churches, by Jim Wright, Crossroad Junction (April 1, 2013). Quote:

I have been involved in dealing with a number of cases involving sexual predation and exploitation by church leaders – in all kinds of churches (including “organic” or “simple” churches which naively think they are immune from this kind of abuse).

My wife and I have also done pastoral counseling, over the years, with literally hundreds of sex abuse survivors – as well as many abusers who seek help after truly confessing and openly repenting.

One thing I see over and over – especially by predatory church leaders – is the same kind of initial “grooming” behavior. It is amazing how sexually exploitive men in “ministry” all seem to use the same methods.

How churches should address abuse, by Kristen Howerton (Professor of Psychology at Vanguard University), “On Faith,” The Washington Post (April 10, 2013). An article that analyzes some of the arguments put forth by Sovereign Grace Ministires. Quotes:

The problem with SGM’s invocation of the First Amendment is that this protection applies to the separation of church and state, but not freedom from following the law. While it is true that pastors are free to give whatever kind of biblical counsel they see fit, nearly every state has laws that mandate ministers or other clergy members to report sexual abuse. Therapists, school-teachers, and doctors are similarly required to break confidentiality in such cases, and pastors and church leaders are bound by the same rules. There is no client/counselor privilege when it comes to child abuse. It’s one of the few situations where breaking confidentiality is not only accepted but required.

[…] My hope is that churches will begin to follow best practice when child abuse is suspected, which should involve:

1. Immediately calling Child Protective Services to report suspected neglect or abuse of a child. Proof is not required – that is the job of the investigator.

2. Providing referrals to qualified, licensed professionals who can provide professional counseling for victims of sexual abuse.

3. Removing the perpetrator from leadership and being transparent with church members about what has occurred to avoid risk to other children.

While churches are free to take disciplinary action or provide biblical counsel within the church body, this should always be second to notifying authorities. While the allegations against SGM are disturbing, my hope is that this situation can provoke a national conversation among religious leaders on the importance of transparency and legal accountability when sexual abuse has occurred in the context of the church.

Sovereign Grace Ministries and C.J. Mahaney want lawsuit to end, by Peter Lumpkins (April 29, 2013). Looks at the interconnections between the Sovereign Grace Ministries child sexual abuse scandals and alleged cover-up, and suggests how this connects with Southern Baptist Convention leaders who continue to association personally and/or institutionally. Mr. Lumpkins refers to an April 25, 2013, source article in the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal: “Louisville-based Sovereign Grace Ministries wants lawsuit ended, says it’s shielded from abuse claims,” by Peter Smith (an active archive link could not be located).

Why I do this, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (May 6, 2013). An example from a survivor of clergy sexual abuse that describes why advocacy is so important.

Sexual abuse resolution proposed, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (May 16, 2013). “A Baptist blogger [Peter Lumpkins] says by continuing to support individuals and groups publicly accused of sexual abuse of children, SBC leaders are tarnishing the denomination’s name.” Also includes comments on the past few years of challenging Prestonwood Baptist Church to answer questions and be accountable on the situation with former staff member John Langworthy.

The Selective Outrage of Southern Baptists, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (May 23, 2013). This appears to be the post that set off a series of conversations with a Houston First Baptist church leader that ultimately led to the resignation of Matt and Amy Smith from their long-term volunteer service as teachers with the student ministry there. Quote:

The SBC annual meeting is June 11-12 in Houston. The SBC pastors’ conference is June 9-10, same place. Jack Graham, pastor of megachurch Prestonwood Baptist Church and former, two-time SBC president, is a featured discussion panel leader on the topic of “leadership.” We are planning an awareness event outside the convention to stand for those abuse survivors who don’t have a voice or whose voices are being callously ignored by pastors and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention. 

Perhaps you may have a few minutes to simply come stand with us outside the convention in honor of those survivors who don’t have a voice? Details TBA …

C. J. Mahaney Scandal: Evangelical Leaders Defend Pastor Accused Of Abuse Cover-Up, by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Huffington Post (May 24, 2013).

Why We Have Been Silent about the SGM Lawsuit, by Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor on The Gospel Coalition (May 24, 2013). This statement shares the perspective of three key leaders in TGC/The Gospel Coalition about why TGC had made no statement until after the the lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries had been disallowed due to technical issues of statute of limitations. (There had been calls for many months by advocates for sexual abuse victims to evangelical leaders to take some kind of stand about SGM and show compassion for the victims instead of continuing to have SGM speakers at their events, etc. For instance, see the day-by-day count on silence, found on the right-hand navigation bar on The Wartburg Watch. By their count, it took nearly six full months before there was any substantive response from “Reformed Big Dog” leaders on the SGM lawsuit.) On June 10, 2013, G.R.A.C.E. director Boz Tchividjian tweeted that the following sentence had been added to the end of the TGC statement: This statement reflects the views of the signatories and does not necessarily speak for other Council members, bloggers, and writers for The Gospel Coalition.

SBC leaders stand by accused colleague, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (May 28, 2013). “Southern Seminary’s Albert Mohler and Washington pastor Mark Dever break their silence on accusations of covering up sexual abuse by Calvinist colleague and friend C.J. Mahaney.” This article links to a statement of support for Mr. Mahaney by the two leaders, plus Presbyterian minister Ligon Duncan, on the T4G/Together for the Gospel site. As tracked elsewhere, the statement – which was originally posted on Facebook and later removed (apparently having over 100 comments, many of them very critical) – was edited on the T4G site in a way that changed the content and tone significantly, but was not so noted as being revised. For details that track the deletion and alterations, see Statement from T4G: Mohler, Dever, Duncan in Support of C.J. Mahaney Was Altered! by Julie Anne Smith, Spiritual Sounding Board (June 6, 2013).

SNAP leader shames Mahaney supporters, by Bob Allen (May 30, 2013). This article takes to task those who have been supporting Sovereign Grace Ministries leader, including Southern Baptist seminary president Albert Mohler and Washington, D.C., pastor Mark Dever. Quote:

“David Clohessy, national director of SNAP — the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests – said May 28 that religious leaders voicing support for embattled Pastor C.J. Mahaney, named in a lawsuit recently thrown out of a Maryland court for legal reasons, ought to be ashamed.”

Baptists ignore the standard, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (June 2, 2013). “[W]hile ‘many other traditional religious denominations’ have developed denominational policies and procedures for addressing clergy sex abuse, the Southern Baptist Convention still sits on the sidelines.”

Soft hearts. Loud voices. Silent no more. By Amy Smith, Watch Keep (June 2, 2013). A compilation of blog posts and comments from others about the importance of speaking up in advocacy for survivors of abuse.

When the Church Prefers Perpetrators, by Mary DeMuth (June 3, 2013). “Something is wrong when the church protects perpetrators and marginalizes victims.” This post critiques that kind of ministry setting. It also suggests practical ways to demonstrate the opposite – a Christlike response to those who survive abuse – and what kind of leadership paradigm it takes to do so.

Will changing of the guard bring any change on clergy sex abuse? By Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (June 4, 2013). Quote:

“In a generational changing of the guard, Southern Baptists are gaining a new advocate for their values in Washington and around the country as Russell Moore, a media-savvy theologian, takes the helm of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.” This news, reported last week by the Religion News Service, means that the ERLC will no longer be headed by Richard Land, who had been at the commission’s helm for nearly twenty-five years.

As the ERLC’s new leader, Russell Moore claims that he will use “convictional kindness” to defend Southern Baptist ideals.

“Convictional kindness.” What do you think that means with respect to the denomination’s do-nothingness on clergy sex abuse? Will there be any change?

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: The Southern Baptist Convention and child sexual abuse within, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (June 6, 2013). This post lays out the unfolding situation between Houston First Baptist Church leaders Doug Bischoff and Gregg Matte, and Matt and Amy Smith. The timing is especially noteworthy, coming as it does just days before the beginning of the 2013 annual Southern Baptist Convention Pastor’s Conference (presided over this year by Gregg Matt) and regular convention.

Blog: Pastor chastises abuse activist, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (June 7, 2013). This article lays out the objections/concerns of senior leaders from the church Matt and Amy Smith had attended for the past 18 years. The initial concerns over Amy’s blog and advocacy activities were expressed by Houston First Baptist Church’s Pastor Gregg Matte, who was president of the 2013 annual Southern Baptist Pastors Conference. His subordinate, Doug Bischoff, contacted the Smiths just days before the SBC convention, which eventually resulted in resignations from their long-time volunteer ministry work in teaching with the church’s student ministry.

First Baptist Church – Houston – “I saw your blog,” by BeneDictionBlogsOn (June 7, 2013). Quote: 

Every time I think Southern Baptist leaders can’t mess up any more than they already are, they do.

Amy Smith is a courageous woman, who attends a SBC church and who is also the Houston director of S.N.A.P. For years she has been pointing out how SBC churches neglect their responsibilities in reporting paedophiles, protecting children, and SBC failures in ministering to abuse survivors. Her stand has cost her.

And it is costing her again.

Amy and her husband Matt have never named the church they attend on her blog, Watch Keep. Until yesterday.

The Southern Baptist Convention and Sex Abuse of Children Within, by Julie Anne Smith, Spiritual Sounding Board (June 7, 2013). This article compiles information, interviews, comments, screenshots, and links from multiple sources to detail the unfolding concerns of leaders at Houston First Baptist Church with the sexual abuse victim advocacy of Amy Smith and the Smiths’ responses.

Southern Baptist Leadership is Lacking, by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (June 8, 2013). “Jack Graham will be a featured speaker at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual Pastors’ Conference on June 9 in Houston. His topic? Leadership. So . . . let’s talk a little about the kind of leadership that Jack Graham has shown.”

Statement by Pam Palmer, Mother of [SGM Lawsuit] Plaintiff Renee Palmer Gamby (posted on Spiritual Sounding Board, June 8, 2013). Statement regards the tactics of Houston First Baptist Church in dealing with sexual abuse victim advocate Amy Smith, and making mention of the T4G statement in support of C.J. Mahaney and the then forthcoming awareness event at the 2013 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

the backlash when speaking up about abuse, by Amy Jacober on Theological Curves: God-talk by women (June 9, 2013). “Amy Smith has been valiantly speaking up for those who have been abused for years. She has also been a volunteer youth worker for years. It seems that a narrow understanding of what is “good” for our children has distorted the perspective of leadership where she has been. While I do not know her personally, I know her work. I know that what she is experiencing is deeply personal. I also know that being uninvited to the table is not necessarily a sign of being wrong. In fact, it may be that she was a little too right.”

What to do when your pastor, priest or a trusted person is accused of abuse, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (June 9, 2013). In advance of the 2013 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, SNAP put together a list of 20 important suggestions for parishioners when allegations of sexual abuse by clergy or others arise in the congregation. This post also includes an embedded video of “Victim #1” of Jerry Sandusky at Penn State.

You may be seen as fringe, by New BBC Forum (June 9, 2013). This post responds to the actions of staff member Doug Bischoff in the local Southern Baptist church that Matt and Amy Smith had attended for the past 18 years. Mr. Bischoff contacted them to explore the church’s objections to Amy’s involvement in potential awareness actions at the 2013 annual Southern Baptist convention in Houston. The objections/concerns of senior leaders and the unfortunate unfolding of subsequent events were summarized in the June 7, 2013, Associated Baptist Press article, Blog: Pastor chastises abuse activist, by Bob Allen.

Are TGC, SGM and the SBC Ominously Threatened by Bloggers? by Dee Parsons, The Wartburg Watch (June 10, 2013). “Deb and I have become concerned with a few statements and actions by those who support, or appear to support, Sovereign Grace Ministries and CJ Mahaney.” The post includes sections on: 1. Credible reports of death threats. 2. Ominous wish. TGC changed their statement without an announcement. 3. Houston police phone call. 4. Tim Challies and the DDOS comment. Our thoughts on threats and violence. It concludes with a list of SBC Convention Related Posts.

How long until Southern Baptists take action against clergy sex abuse? by Christa Brown, Stop Baptist Predators (June 10, 2013). “This is a revised version of a column that was originally posted on the eve of the Southern Baptist Convention’s June 2010 annual meeting, and that was previously published by Ethics Daily and the Associated Baptist Press.”

Pastor: SBC should support abuse victims, by Jeff Brumley, Associated Baptist Press (June 10, 2013). “A Georgia pastor [Peter Lumpkins] says SBC leaders who are coddling a minister accused of covering up sexual abuse send the public a message that all Southern Baptists are soft on clergy predators.” Includes Pastor Lumpkins’ comments critiquing SBC figures Albert Mohler and Mark Dever for their support of C.J. Mahaney in the Sovereign Grace Ministries child sexual abuse scandal, and comments from sexual abuse victims’ advocate Amy Smith on the long-term efforts to influence the SBC.

We are here to protect kids: Our awareness event at the 2013 SBC annual meeting, by Amy Smith, Watch Keep (June 11, 2013). Includes photos from the awareness event at the 2013 annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting, a statement on this June 11 SNAP event, a TV news video from KPRC [Length: 02:04], a June 8 statement by Pam Palmer (mother of a Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit plaintiff).

2013 SBC Approves Resolution on Sexual Abuse, YouTube [VIDEO length: 15:43] (posted June 12, 2013). “Southern Baptist Convention discussion and amendment discussion on resolution pertaining toward Child Sexual Abuse.”

Circling the Wagons, by David Dunbar, Biblical Seminary Faculty Blog (June 12, 2013). Quote:

My concern in this blog is to explore the way in which “movement thinking” may have negatively impacted the statements of T4G and The Gospel Coalition. I should first say that both responses build off the authors’ deep friendship with C.J. Mahaney. It is appropriate that friends should stand by one another, especially in times of distress, loss, and opposition. What sort of friend would not do this? On the other hand, those we love can make mistakes–sometimes appalling mistakes, and if they do, even friends need to ask hard questions.

Did Mahaney’s friends ask the hard questions?  I don’t know. They did remain silent publicly until the lawsuit was dismissed. And unfortunately, now that they have spoken, the statements come off as highly biased and even misleading.

Cracks in the Celebrity-Driven Church, by Bill Kinnon (June 12, 2013). Summarizes the SBC resolution on reporting child abuse, related issues of support by celebrity figures in conservative denominations for C.J. Mahaney in the Sovereign Grace Ministries child sexual abuse scandal, and roles of advocates for victims of sexual abuse. Also includes links to an important Tweet exchange and their texts:

In response to a Tweet where I wondered,

Perhaps Carson, DY & Taylor received some pushback from other TCGers“,

Boz Tchividjian, who with the ministry G.R.A.C.E. supports abuse victims  replied,

Internal pushback has occurred.’

My thought: One begins to wonder if passage of the amendment to the SBC resolution was an early warning of … who knows … potential open rebuke or even some kind of stronger censure of those who continue to Mr. Mahaney while apparently expressing little/no compassion for survivors of the child sexual abuse victimization at SGM – whether that abuse is only alleged at this point in the civil lawsuit, or where the perpetrators have already been convicted in criminal trials.

Resolution on Sexual Abuse of Children adopted with amendment, by Peter Lumpkins on SBC Tomorrow (June 12, 2013). Gives the full texts of the resolution plus the amendment that was adopted.

SBC’s Convention: A Victory Amidst Turmoil, by Dee Parson, The Wartburg Watch (June 12, 2013). A round-up of news and views related to the SBC resolution on sexual abuse reporting and amendment about leadership discernment.

Southern Baptist Convention officially opposes Boy Scouts’ new policy on gays, by Juan Lozano and Travis Loller, The Associated Press, in the Jackson, MS, ClarionLedger (June 12, 2013). Quote:

The membership also voted to express concern about child sexual abuse and called on all Southern Baptists to report allegations of child abuse to authorities. That resolution was amended to urge Southern Baptist leadership to use caution affiliating with groups or individuals with questionable practices for protecting children.

It is unclear whether the amendment was aimed at any specific person or practice, but it comes after some Southern Baptist leaders expressed support for Sovereign Grace Ministries. That group faces accusations that church officials covered up child sexual abuse.

Southern Baptists pass resolution urging all abuse allegations to be reported to authorities, Associated Press (June 12, 2013). Quote:

It is unclear whether the amendment was aimed at any specific person or practice, but it comes after some Southern Baptist leaders expressed support for Sovereign Grace Ministries. That group faces accusations that church officials covered up child sexual abuse.

Southern Baptists: Take care with ties to those accused of mishandling abuse, by Peter Smith, Louisville Kentucky, Courier-Journal (June 12, 2013).

Southern Baptists urge abuse reporting, by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press (June 12, 2013). “An amended SBC resolution passed Wednesday calls on denominational leaders and workers to exercise ‘discernment’ about identifying with groups or individuals tainted by lawsuits or arrest involving alleged child abuse.”

Surprise: Amended Version of Lumpkins’ Sex Abuse Resolution Passes SBC, by Dee Parson, The Wartburg Watch (June 12, 2013). One of the earliest announcements online of the resolution’s passage.

Three Interesting Decisions Made Today by Southern Baptist Leaders, by Melissa Steffan, in Gleanings, Christianity Today blog (June 12, 2013). Quote:

Just after 10 a.m., convention attendees approved a resolution that calls “on all Southern Baptists to report allegations of child abuse to authorities.” The resolution, filed more or less in response to the high-profile lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), was amended to ask that “SBC leaders and employees practice the highest level of discernment in affiliating with groups or individuals that possess ‘questionable’ policies and practices in protecting children against sexual abuse,” according to Baptist Press (BP), which live-blogged the morning’s votes.

SBC Developments: Brave Action, Not Vague Resolutions, Stops Crimes against Kids, by Julie Anne Smith (June 13, 2013). A round-up synopsis of news links and blog articles about the 2013 SBC convention passage of the resolution on sexual abuse.

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Version 3 ~ March 10, 2013 ~ 1 PM, PDT. Compiled by brad/futuristguy. Additional articles and links are added as they become available.

Version 2 ~ March 9, 2013 ~ 8 PM, PST.

Version 1 ~ March 9, 2013 ~ 10 AM, PST.