Hundreds of accounts of sexual abuse and molestation surfaced against numerous fundamental Baptist churches following an investigation by Fort Worth, Texas-based newspaper the Star-Telegram. The media outlet conducted an eight-month investigation into claims of sexual abuse and molestation in 2018 after two men were arrested on charges of sexual abuse at a Mesquite, Texas church. The investigation uncovered an alarming number of independent fundamental Baptist churches and affiliated institutions with numerous accusations of sexual abuse. By the Star-Telegram’s own report, it counted 187 separate entities involved in more than 412 allegations of sexual misconduct against youth and adults who attended or were employed by the churches throughout the United States. Some alleged abusers had dozens of accusations against them. Many of the victims were girls between the ages of 14 and 18. The majority of the sexual abuse claims are centralized in the Midwest including Ohio and Indiana.
The investigation uncovered the fact that many alleged abusers did not face any criminal charges. Instead, these church leaders were often transferred to another church outside of the city where the alleged abuse occurred. Unlike the Catholic Church, the fundamental Baptist church considers itself to be made up of independent entities. However, many of these churches have affiliations through theological colleges or pastoral friendships. This system allowed accused abusers to leave the church communities where the sexual abuse or misconduct occurred and relocate to a new area. And similar to the Catholic Church, many of the victims of sexual abuse in the Baptist church reported the same feelings of shame and guilt associated with the abuse and a fear of coming forward to report the pastor or clergy member.
Below is an interactive map created by the Star-Telegram that highlights cases of alleged abuse
As more sexual abuse victims come forward and tell their stories, the fundamental Baptist church has yet to take action to address these reports.
Cohen & Malad, LLP attorneys have been helping victims of sexual abuse for decades. Our attorneys have been trained by mental health professionals so as to not re-victimize our clients when telling their story. We have helped many families get compensation to pay for the help they need in order to heal after sexual abuse. We understand the sensitive nature of this type of lawsuit and prioritize our clients’ privacy and trust while fighting to get them the compensation they need to assist them in healing and coping from sexual abuse.