Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wolves in the Music Ministry

Update: After over 240 comments in this thread, discussion will be continued here.

Two posts back the comment stream began to veer off topic and onto a much more serious subject than the original post. It began with this comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been trying now for about 9 months to warn about a predator pedophile music minister. This man was my youth music minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas in the mid 80s. He became a close family friend, even living with my family for a while. I was on the church staff as a youth intern as a college student in 1989 when this minister was fired abruptly due to credible accusations of sexual abuse by several boys in the church. He was confronted by church staff, including the head pastor at the time, who is still the head pastor today, Dr. Jack Graham. This offender admitted to the abuse. The church did not report his crimes to the police, which was mandated by law starting in 1971, just fired him and told him to leave. Church members were not informed.

He packed up that week and moved back to his home state of MS where he is on staff now as music minister of all ages at a church in Clinton, outside of Jackson, Morrison Heights Baptist Church. He also teaches choir at the local public high school. I have spoken with the school superintendent, head pastor, as well as local law enforcement. Both the school and church have confronted this man, and he admits to the abuse that occurred in Dallas, as well as to abusing a boy in MS that he babysat prior to his job in Dallas.

I know that local law enforcement is very concerned and has advised that this minister be fired, yet he remains on staff. The MS pastor and elders told me that they are concerned with protecting this minister’s reputation, as “everyone in the [town] knows [him.] and that “he has the largest church youth choir in the state.” I have even been contacted by this man’s attorney who is a church elder and has heard accounts of the abuse from victims and admission by his client. This attorney is also a MS state rep. The attorney asked if I would speak with him to “discuss a resolution.” I said no. The MS pastor has told me that they “feel my pain.” I expressed to them that I am not a victim, but I am doing this as a victims’ advocate to protect children.

I have also contacted Prestonwood Baptist to plead that they do the right thing and report these crimes against children that occurred on their watch. Silence has been the response. Recently Christa Brown who founded Stop Baptist Predators posted my story on her blog.

1:13 PM, May 27, 2011

I've reposted the subsequent comments in this thread, and the discussion can continue here.


1 – 200 of 242   Newer›   Newest»
New BBC Open Forum said...

Comments from previous post:

Anonymous said...

Morrison Heights Baptist Church staff

3:33 PM, May 29, 2011

Anonymous said...

Clinton High School staff

3:43 PM, May 29, 2011

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious, (BTW, I'm a DIFFERENT 'Annonymous' than the one posting the facts about this pedophile music minister,) have you sent this information to the news stations, written letters to the editors of newspapers, reported to childrens' protective services, etc.? Have all of these places just ignored the information? This is just mindboggling! I can understand that the church won't do anything--nothing surprises me with churches nowadays! But--a High School not taking action? This doesn't make any sense. Are the parents aware? Aren't law enforcers and school administrators OBLIGATED to act on accusations of abuse?? Has there been some stupid "Statute of Limitations" that has run out? Are you implying that perhaps this predator has friends in "high" places within the state of MS that are protecting him?

11:04 AM, May 30, 2011

New BBC Open Forum said...

The anon would have to answer that, but I understand Anon May 27th, 1:13 p.m. has contacted church and school authorities in Clinton. The answer seems to be that no one wants to "ruin" JL's "reputation." It sounds to me like JL's reputation preceded him and that he's the one who's already ruined his reputation.

I, too, wondered why, if the school district is aware of this man's past they have chosen not to fire him. Sounds as if one or more lawyers are involved. If he hasn't been accused of anything since he's been in Clinton, and if he's never been indicted and found guilty of anything, they may be afraid to fire him.

Maybe Anon 1:13 will come back and explain.

BTW, I'm a DIFFERENT 'Annonymous' than the one posting the facts about this pedophile music minister

This is why when I opened the blog to anonymous comments I requested that people at least select a unique screen name. It allows you to comment without logging in but distinguishes you from other anons. Instead of clicking "Anonymous," check "Name/URL" and enter a unique screen name. No URL is required.

3:34 PM, May 30, 2011

New BBC Open Forum said...

KB said...

To answer some of the questions about the MS minister: I spoke directly with Dr. Philip Burchfield, Clinton schools superintendent, last August. He heard directly from a minister at Prestonwood Baptist Church confirming the abuse by this man shortly after. Dr. Burchfield also spoke in Feb. with a victim from the time at Prestonwood. He told the victim that he had confronted Mr. Langworthy, the minister and high school choir teacher, and that Langworthy admitted to the abuse at Prestonwood and confirmed his firing from Prestonwood. Langworthy has remained on staff the entire school year, even taking the school choir kids on a trip to New Orleans in April. I sent emails of my concern to the school board, HS principal, counselors, as well as the superintendent's director of communications. Her only reply was, "how many people are you sending or rather have you sent, this information to?" I have reported this information to local law enforcement who is very concerned but cannot act legally at this point. I do know that law enforcement has advised that Mr. Langworthy be fired. I have urged both the church and school to do so and inform the church and school parents of the reason so any victims there can be supported to tell someone and report the abuse to the police. I do believe that there is a concerted effort to protect this admitted pedophile's reputation and conceal the truth. The 6 elders' names were recently listed on the church website. These elders were on a conference call to speak with me about 6 weeks ago. I declined to speak without someone of my choosing on the call with me. Their purpose was to tell me all they have done to be "comfortable with keeping John" on staff. We rescheduled but that call has not happened. In addition to the MS state rep, another elder is the general manager for a news station in Jackson.

11:35 AM, May 31, 2011

Angela said...

NewBBC--Thanks for your response to my questions to the OTHER Annonymous. I'm so confused as to HOW a school district even has the OPTION to DECIDE that they don't want to pursue this issue. Are they not bound by law to investigate and follow through? I can't believe parents aren't raising a stink--surely this pedophile can't be the only person in MS who has access to a lawyer! I know--I'm ranting. I'm just so frustrated with this kind of corrupt nonsense!

Concerning your suggestions about using a unique screen name--funny thing is, I wasn't using "Anonymous" because I didn't want anyone to know my identity--I just couldn't get my post to go through using the other option, (Yeah--I'm pretty computer-illiterate.) I'll try it again this time--we'll see what happens.

11:40 AM, May 31, 2011

KB said...

I have heard that John Langworthy resigned in front of the congregation during the service at Morrison Heights last Sunday citing "mental and emotional reasons." To my knowledge the church has no plans to inform their members of John Langworthy's admitted history of child sexual abuse during the mid 1980s at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas that led to his resignation from Morrison Heights Baptist Church. I hope the truth will be known so any victims he may have had there can come forward to report the abuse to the police and to get help.

7:38 PM, May 31, 2011

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anonymous said...

This is reguards to the alligations against Mr. Langworthy. First, I am the mother of four, and do everything in my power to protect my children, thats the responsibilty god has set on me for the blessing of my children. Now, my eldest is a Clinton High Singer and he was her choir teacher. I feel for the allegied victims and there families. Clinton is a very tight community, Im appaulled at this 21 year old story surfacing. Mr. Lanworthy is a admirable mentor to his choir and congragation. He has taught hundreds and let me repeat hundreds of our wonderful Clinton youth. On this blog I have heard no mention of the impact this would have on "OUR" community and the message this would tell "OUR" children. This wonderful man whom they admire, love, and look up to, has done such things(true or not) The alleged victims parents had the option 21 years ago to do something about it, but have this haunt him our community--this has recently stripped him of doing his Christian duties, teaching, and ministering our youth. There are no alligations in our town of any wrong doing by him. We love him dearly and as a very tight community we will stand by him 110%
These alligations have no impact on my feelings for him, but I know the devisation this would cause to the youth in our community. He has children, as most of us do, I believe a few mistakes in life NEVER define a person at heart. Please have respect for a man who means so much to this community, our youth, his family, and his good name. Please no more phone calls to our state reps, churchs, and any city athority. Respect Our Families and Children. Jesus has asked for us to be forgiving christians, are you acting as Jesus would. Next, just a quote::: Before you point fingers at someone, make sure your hands are clean. With all Blessings and Love.
From: A Proud Mother of an Clinton Singer.

5:52 PM, June 14, 2011

New BBC Open Forum said...

Words escape me.

10:55 PM, June 14, 2011

David said...

The "Mother in Clinton is the very reason so many victims decide to remain silent and not speak out. Who would believe them? Certainly not "Mother in Clinton" That is such a shame and yet another example why so many victims I work with that were abused by clergy want NOTHING to do with God or Church. Thanks "Mother in Clinton”. Lastly why the apparent crush on Mr. Langworthy?

David Brown
SNAP Director for Tennessee/Memphis & West Tennessee

New BBC Open Forum said...

professional said...

To the above mother of Clinton Arrow Singer,
It saddens me to see this response I have worked with sexual offenders now for over 20 years. I personally know all of the information regarding Mr Langworthy, have been working with his attorney in Clinton, know the victims from Prestonwood, and personally know that Mr. Langworthy has admitted to the staff at his church and at the school of his prior victims (NOT alleged victims, and many more than just one). The fact that you do not know of any victims in Clinton does not mean that they do not exist. He has had victims from many walks of his life, not just from one church. I understand the devestation that this is going to cause the people of Clinton and all of those who love him. You might consider, though, the feeling of his victims, of whom there are many. I know it is unfathomable for you to believe that he even has any victims Maybe you should ask him yourself. And of course he has a family and children, almost all sexual offenders do. He is classic in his ability to obtain victims, remain quiet, remain uncaught. I have worked with many, many offenders just like him, and he is no different, and unfortunately, neither is his "support" from his church. This happens all of the time. Sexual offenders are very good at having two "lives" and they will live very differently with those they are offending and those that they are not. I understand that you are more concerned over him than any victim that their might be, because you don't believe that there are any. As I have told all that are involved in this, I would pray that there are no victims, because that means that there are no children hurt. But my question is, after 20 years of molesting (this is factual, not just hearsay or alleged, by the way) did he just stop when he got to Clinton? No one can answer this question, because no one can show me that he has. And the level of abuse that he had on his previous victims, not just sexual but spiritual and emotional, would be the reason that victims have not come forward. Most people, and for a good reason, do not understand or believe most sexual offenders because it is hard for them to understand how a "good " person could do such things. Until I am convinced that there has been enough done to find victims or make sure that parents have the opportunity to talk to their children about it, I am going to continue to speak. He is just trying to leave quietly, exactly like he did at the other two churches that I am aware of victims. Of course, this is causing him stress.....when darkness is brought to light, when sin is brought forward, it can cause some stress. Your last quote of your post was quite interesting. Would you like me to quote scripture all over the bible about harming children, sin, lying, ...etc. Before I would get angry at the ones who are bringing this to light, you might try to actually gain the facts of what is going on. Sadly, I am sure you still won't believe it. And that is okay. It happens every day. So you know, I am not an alleged random person who hates John Langworthy I have never met him, and have nothing against him As a matter of fact, I probably understand him more than anyone else involved in all of this. I dont hate sexual offenders. If I did, I wouldn't have chosen to work with them...but they do need to have consequences for behaviors and children DO need to be protected. I have worked with thousands, and have yet to meet one who just stops (especially one who has had no intervention of any kind to help him). Any sexual offender that I know who is progressing well, would NEVER and I repeat NEVER place himself in a situation where he has access to children. It is like putting an alcoholic to work in a bar. Mr. Langworthy put himself in every position he could find to be in contact with children. HUNDREDS of them to quote your post.

8:27 AM, June 15, 2011

New BBC Open Forum said...

professional said...

also, one more thing regarding the post from Mother of Clinton Arrow Singer......your statement regarding peoples "mistakes".....molesting a child is not a
"mistake" was a choice that this man chose to make, over and over and over. It was not a mistake!

8:33 AM, June 15, 2011

New BBC Open Forum said...

One minor request, if you don't mind, for longer comments please use paragraphs for easier reading. Thanks.

Valarie said...

"I believe a few MISTAKES in life NEVER define a person at heart."

Unbelievable ignorant acceptance and total desperation to maintain her personal and comfortable "community bubble".
The hell with the reality abuse victims have to live with.

David said...

To the "mother in Clinton": You ask no more phone calls (to), state reps, churches or city authority. Trust me if I find out that this man is still in a position of authority at either the church or the school you will hear from me. I will do what I am best at and that is have a press conference (you didn't say we couldn't do that)and raise awareness in your dear sweet city that they have a pedophile in their presence who is constant contact with (in your words) hundreds and hundreds of children.

Anyone up for a road trip?

David Brown

New BBC Open Forum said...

To "Clinton mom" and anyone sharing the same mindset...

(Everyone else please pardon me while I illustrate the elephant in the room. We're all thinking it.)

Definition of Denial

Please wake up and extract your head. It's not about YOU and it's not about HIM. It's about the children.

Houston SNAP said...

There is a book addressing sexual abuse written by a pastor at Mars Hill Church, Justin Holcomb and his wife,, Rid of My Disgrace.

The suppression of the truth about an admitted child sex offender by the church and school in the case in MS furthers the fear and silence from any victims there.

This is an excerpt from the book Rid of My Disgrace about forgiveness and justice that I found spot on and encouraging:

Forgiveness is not a substitute for justice. As Volf writes..."every act of forgiveness enthrones justice..." forgiveness provides a framework in which the quest for properly understood justice can be fruitfully pursued. Only those who are forgiven and willing to forgive will be capable of relentlessly pursuing justice without falling into the temptation to pervert into injustice....Forgiveness does not mean that you do not participate in activities that impose consequences on evil behavior such as calling the police, filing reports, church discipline, criminal proceedings, etc.. You can forgive the abuser without the expectation of pretending the abuse never happened.

Amy Smith
Houston SNAP

professional said...

to New BBC Open Forum,

Sorry for the long paragraph form and the misspelled words, I was typing from my phone. Will do better with any further posts.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Not a problem. Thanks.

Angela said...

Well, I have a LOT I could say to the "mother in Clinton"--lots of reasoning and scripture quoting--but I just don't have the energy to try to rationally reason with the irrational anymore.

I guess my only statement to her would be that she should to examine her heart and HONESTLY ask herself:

1. Would she be asking people to stop the phone calls to state reps, city authorities, etc. if HER child had been one of the "alleged" victims?

2. How would she think HER child would feel about it, after "allegedly" being victimized by this pedophile, if she just chose to "forgive" and let this wonderful man continue blessing the community and HUNDREDS of it's children?

I'm just amazed by these types of people--I really can't wrap my head around their way of thinking.

KB said...

To the Mother of a Clinton Singer,
What did Greg Belser tell you when you asked him if John Langworthy had sexually abused boys?

Clinton Singer said...

Alright, this is a Clinton Singer from the high school John Langworthy taught at.
I came was in contact with this man everyday for two years straight, as he was my choir teacher. We shared good times and bad times in the choir as a whole, between deaths in the families of my peers or friend drama of a few high school girls (containing 100-120 students in one class period) and he has always boasting on us being a "family". And, that was our main motto. We WERE a family.
Hearing all of this new information about Mr. Langworthy, who is one of my highest regarded role models, is definitely a reality shaker for myself, since that seems to be the last person one would expect that from. In my mind, I understand why he has to suffer the consequences for what he's done, and my prayers definitely do go out to the victims of every incident, I still can't ignore everyday when the last words he would say (as sort of a model catch phrase for our choir) "You are loved." In that choir their were lots of broken teenagers, as their are broken people in every walk of life, that I watched so many of my peers and even treasured friends change before my very eyes in the best ways, because of Mr. Langworthy himself. I can't expect most of you to understand, because none of you spent almost everyday with him as your teacher and mentor for two whole years, but even through all of that has happened, this does not make me love him any differently as my teacher and spiritual guide, but I must face the reality of what he's done, and now I do understand now why he has withdrawn from school and from church as suddenly as he has.
I'm not condoning anything that he has done - allegedly or otherwise - but I still know in my heart what I know and what I've witnessed of him, and I have only ever seen good, encouraging things. I stay from the beginning of the class period to the end, and never once have I heard or seen any sketchy behavior from him against any of my peers and classmates.
He has changed so many lives positively, and that's the way that I'm going to remember him. I'm not saying that the other things didn't happen, because I realize that for everything you do there is a consequence or reaction. And, I know that from the opposite end of the argument it seems like he is a "wolf is sheep's clothing" as some might say, but from this side, he is a good man: one of the better men out there, it seems.
Also, that "Clinton Mother" was my own mother, and I know she isn't ignorant. She just wanted to indirectly defend my feelings, since learning this has certainly taken a toll in my reality.
Anyway, God bless. :)

New BBC Open Forum said...

Clinton Singer,

Thank you for your comment. Believe it or not I can understand what you're feeling. It's always disappointing to learn someone who's been a role model or positive influence in your life has skeletons in his closet. That's why we should never put our faith in people because people will inevitably let you down. We are all sinners and have feet of clay.

I don't think you're wrong to remember the positive influence this man had on your life. It sounds like he's been a positive influence on a lot of people's lives. He is probably a very charismatic person. But he also had a dark side that a few unfortunate victims were all too aware of. All the good things he's done don't erase the bad. Some people have a remarkable ability to compartmentalize different areas of their lives, and Langworthy appears to be especially good at this.

When I was young my family attended a SB church whose pastor wasn't much of a pastor but he was, without exception, the best preacher and Bible teacher I've ever heard. My family and I learned more from that man's teaching than from all the preachers I've sat under since combined. Several years ago I learned this man (since deceased and NOT AR!) had been having an affair with a woman who worked at the church. Now, that was indeed disappointing, but it doesn't negate the positive influence he had on our lives in the least. The difference between him and Langworthy is that (to my knowledge) he had no minor victims. I won't say there weren't "victims" (both their families were victims), and I certainly don't condone his actions either, but they were, by law, consenting adults. Langworthy has reportedly admitted that his victims were minors.

There's another church musician on the radar right now who is being watched because he has been reported to have left several minor male victims in his wake before moving on to new pastures. Unfortunately there are no known police reports at this time to back up the allegations, and his previous churches, like Langworthy's church in Texas, have chosen not to warn those at other churches once he moves on. Like Langworthy, he's very charismatic and loved by many who are going to be shocked if and when the truth comes out.

I hope you understand why John Langworthy's actions need to be known to those with whom he may have had contact and will have contact in the future. I don't mean he should walk around with a scarlet "M" on his chest, but if he tries to gain employment at a church or school, potential employers need to know about his past. It's not to "punish" or embarrass him, and it's particularly unfortunate when we know he has a family, but it's not about them. It's about one thing and one thing only, and that is the protection of potential victims. From what I'm hearing of this case, his victims were not confined to Texas 21 years ago either. You might even be acquainted with a victim of Langworthy or another abuser and not even realize it.

New BBC Open Forum said...


It seems to me if this man has changed and is truly repetent he would have voluntarily removed himself from the ministry and any job where he has daily contact with minors. He certainly wouldn't quietly resign and slink away now. Yet all we're hearing is he resigned from the church for "mental and emotional reasons." (I wasn't aware he resigned from the school.)

His church in Texas wasn't informed why he left there, and apparently his church and school in Clinton weren't informed why he left Texas until years later, and still no one did anything about it.

Quite the contrary, he reportedly has a high-placed lawyer trying to silence those who simply want to warn others about him so as to avoid "embarrassing" his family and community. I truly feel for his family. His "community"... not so much. All we're seeing are misguided attempts by people like (excuse me) your mother to defend him no matter what. I dare say if you had been one of his victims your mother would have a different take on things. I don't think she'd be "standing behind him 110%."

I pray there aren't more victims in Mississippi, but the odds are there could very well be more, and it may be decades before they come forward, if they ever do. Not all victims are emotionally capable of coming forward right after abuse occurs. Some never are able to deal with it openly, but it comes out in other ways. (Read David Brown's story.) This is why the assertion that "the parents had the option 21 years ago to do something about it" doesn't apply here. The parents may not have known about the abuse until their sons were over the age of 18 at which time the parents were powerless to do anything. They may have thought they were doing the best thing for their sons by not putting them through the trauma of having to testify in court. The victims may have been too traumatized to tell anyone at the time. We don't know.

I don't know of anyone who takes delight in this story, but I, for one, am glad John Langworthy is out of the ministry and not working with teenagers (for now). I'm sorry he's apparently out of a job right now, but he and he alone is responsible for his past actions and the consequences he's reaping today. I hope he gets help, but it's his victims I'm more concerned about.

You're still young, and I can tell you if you live very long this won't be the last time your reality is shaken when you learn the truth about someone you've trusted. That is reality in a fallen world. People aren't always what they appear to be, and some have deep, dark secrets. Guard yourself, your family, and your future children because there really are wolves in sheep's clothing. That doesn't mean to live in fear but to simply be aware that reality isn't what it always appears to be.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Clinton Singer,

May I ask if you learned about this story here (via your mother) or from someone there? I find it odd that your mother would just happen to find this obscure blog and whether the story was already making the rounds there.

Valarie said...

Clinton singer,
My heart goes out to you. I respect that you are able to face the reality that your teacher, while a positive influence in your life, was not on others. It's good that you feel compassion for his victims. It's good that you aren't trying to say b/c you saw him as a good man he was not capable of having the dark side that it seems he did have.
It's very sad. He obviously has talents and gifts.I wish he could have just been the person you knew. Unfortunately people with this type of dark side to them know who is vulnerable. I'm glad you weren't.
It's hard to face that people aren't who we want them to be. It's fine that you care for him as long as you deal with the reality that he victimized others....which it seems you are doing. It's painful but it shows you are a healthy individual.
I loved my dad but I had to face that he was inappropriate with his grand daughters. It's never OK for a person in a position of trust or authority to take advantage of that position for their own selfish desires. It's not OK to harm others especially by violating their trust or their bodies.
I grieve for you but I'm proud of the way you are processing and dealing with this very sad situation.

New BBC Open Forum said...

* "repentant" (1:17 a.m.)

Angela said...

Clinton Singer,

Thank you for sharing your insights with us. I really can understand how you must be feeling, having personally experienced the same scenario with someone I loved and trusted and witnessed making a difference in so many others lives.

I'm very relieved to hear that you were not molested in any way by this man--although, you and many others have unfortunately become "victims" of another sort because of the decisions this man has made to continue to place himself in positions of authority over children.

It's like an alcoholic who calls himself "recovering" and then goes to work as a bartender--makes you question,(or at least be very worried about,) his sobriety and motives. I don't understand why a TRULY repentant pedophile would ALLOW himself to work so closely with children--makes me question his repentance and motives.

I'm glad to hear that so many young people were influenced in a positive way--and I PRAY that there are no more victims among the precious children in your community.

I also pray that instead of seeking counsel from lawyers to cover his actions, that this man will truly repent and seek counsel and get treatment for his own sin and personal demons.

Unfortunately for him, by covering his past "alleged" sins and allowing him to move on covertly to other postions without holding him accountable, the clergy and those who were aware of his actions have just created a deception that has festered and now has many more victims than there ever should have been--not just molestation victims, but people who must now come to terms with the fallout of the deception.

It's very embarrassing, frightening, and difficult to expose our sins,repent,and face the concequences. I guess we all need to remember that handling any kind of sin with a "cover-up" and denial can only lead to more sin and more destruction.

New BBC Open Forum said...

It's very embarrassing, frightening, and difficult to expose our sins,repent,and face the concequences. I guess we all need to remember that handling any kind of sin with a "cover-up" and denial can only lead to more sin and more destruction.

An obvious example of this being Anthony Wiener.

KB said...

To the Clinton singer,
I understand first hand what it is like to have to face the reality that someone you know and love like "family" has a dark side that you never saw or even had any inkling of knowledge that it existed.
You mentioned "none" of us who commented knows John like you do because you have spent almost everyday for 2 years with him. Well, I did. I knew him well for 4-5 years. He even lived with my family for a while. He was like family to us as well. He was my youth choir minister when I was in high school, and then I worked on staff with him while I was in college. In fact, I was in his wedding. He was like a big brother or uncle to me. Being only 20 years old when faced with the reality you now face, his firing from Prestonwood for the criminal sexual abuse of multiple boys, some of whom are my friends, it took be about 21 years to come to grips with these heinous crimes committed by someone I knew so well, loved and looked up to. Though not personally one of his victims, it still took this long for me to gain the courage to be the one to finally speak out and tell the truth.
After I learned about the case of Pete Newman last summer from some close friends, I knew it was time to speak out to warn about John, whose profile as a sex offender is eerily similar. Pete Newman was a camp counselor at Kanakuk Christian camps for 10 years who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing several children, at least 13 boys, and received two life sentences plus 30 years in prison last year:

[According to court records, Newman enticed children to join him for "Bible studies" in a hot tub where they would engage in ...

The victim also described Newman as his "spiritual mentor."

The abuse began when Newman first became a counselor in 1999 and continued until 2009 when he was fired after camp administrators learned of the allegations.

Another psychologist, Anna Salter, who testified for the state, said that Newman could pose a danger because he had been able to abuse children for a decade without being caught.

"What's upsetting is that he used religion to groom these kids for his sexual gratification," he said. "That's very upsetting."]

What you also do not know about some of the abuse that took place at Prestonwood is that John used scripture to groom his victims and abuse them by twisting scripture to continually molest them sexually, emotionally and spiritually. He is a master manipulator, and still is to this day, as I know he has lied to Greg Belser and the church elders about the number of victims he has had.

Some of the victims from Prestonwood did not tell their parents of the abuse at the time they came forward to the church staff. The church staff in turn did not tell parents, even arranging counseling without parental notification. Some parents of victims may have never been told that their sons were abused by John. Some boys never told anyone, not even their parents. Tragically, that is the devastating cycle of sexual abuse, entrenching fear and silence into the hearts and minds of innocent children perpetuated into their adult lives. I commend the victims for their courage to finally tell someone. I hope they will report the crimes to the police and get help. They MUST know, and be told, that they have done NOTHING wrong, NOTHING. They were/are children and John Langworthy is wrong, criminally wrong.

Christa Brown said...

Another obvious example being mega-church pastors, regular church pastors, church ministerial staff, high Southern Baptist officials, and former high Southern Baptist officials who choose to cover-up their own past cover-ups rather than to own up to their failures and work for the better protection of kids in the future. These are the people who allow clergy-predators to persist.

New BBC Open Forum said...

From Twitter:

SNAP Network

Baptist Dallas predator is now working around children in MS - (link to this story) - If you know more please contact us.

16 Jun via web

Anonymous said...

Christa Brown said...

"These are the people who allow clergy-predators to persist."

Just listen to Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention 2011, bragging that

"...our job is not done, until sitting in the pews among us, are those of whom it is said: I once was THAT...."

His Belief is that God cures ALL, including Preditors.... ( he was referring to those with a perverted lifestyle, but what's the difference?)

So get with the program people.


Anonymous said...

To BBC poster,
I do understand that this won't be the last time, and it wasn't even the first time, but it's never been as BIG as this ordeal. As time goes on, I pray about it and am finding more acceptance on the matter, and I am praying for him and his family (one of his offsprings I am a classmate of) and for the victims and their difficulty in the situation as well. I have never been a victim of sexual abuse, but it doesn't seem like anything pleasant at all.
I personaly don't care as much for the community, because my community (as a semi small town) is a very chatty one, and I'm already bracing myself for the chatter for when the news finally breaks out. But, I'll admit, I'll still defend him even though I know what he has done is wrong. I can't defend those kind of actions, but I know that I will defend that he was a good person and that he was a positive influence on so many lives.

With my mother, she found this blog through me, and I found out the news by this blog (and other sources). When he went MIA out of church, I knew that something was up, and I am just the kind of person to search until I find. I have not and am not going to tell any of my peers or pals, because I know that the truth will come out eventually, and all I can do is listen to their views. My mom, when we were discussing the situation, told me that she was suprised that the parents of the victims didn't come forth sooner, because she knew that the second that she heard about something like that happening to HER CHILDREN, she said that the abuser would have been in jail in the blink of an eye.

She didn't think about the emotional and spiritual abuse that the victims suffered, which held them back from coming forth 21 years ago, or at anytime along the way.

To Valarie, I'm sorry to hear about your father doing that to his grandchildren. I'm sure that must have shook your world even greater than this has with me. My heart goes out so much to his family, because I understand that they would have the worst time of it all.

To Angela, I fear for Mr. L very much, because I don't know the laws that goes along with situations like this, but I understand that whatever happens, will happen for a reason.

Also, to the person who put up the denial picture: LOL!

Anonymous said...

Also, does anyone know if a criminal of that type has to serve a sentence in the current state that they're in, or if they have to serve it in the place that the crimes were committed?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Clinton Singer, I presume?

Apparently one of the victims in Dallas did not tell his parents at the time and was over the age of 18 by the time they (accidentally) found out. I'm not sure at that point if the statute of limitations had expired or if he simply chose not to have to relive the trauma in a courtroom, but his parents could not do anything about it at that point.

It isn't uncommon for parents to choose not to pursue legal action because they believe putting their children through the stress of having to testify against the perpetrator is worse than just letting it go. I can understand that, but at the same time, by their silence they're allowing the perp to move on and abuse more victims. Someone has to have the courage to say "enough!"

I'm not a lawyer and don't play one on TV, so I'll leave your last question for someone qualified to answer.

KB said...

More background information: it was a call from someone in Mississippi that tipped Prestonwood Baptist Church that John was a pedophile. He had abused in MS before his move to Dallas and job at Prestonwood. Prestonwood then began to look for victims and found several at the time of John's immediate firing. More came forward several months after his firing. Some never told their parents or anyone. Unfortunately, the church broke TX mandatory reporting laws which were enacted in 1971. John was able to quickly and quietly move on to unsuspecting schools and churches in MS, his home state. Greg Belser and the church elders know that John had victims in MS prior to Dallas. They confronted him about this abuse, as well as the abuse at Prestonwood, and he admitted it.

professional said...

To Anonymous,and I am guessing, Clinton Singer:
I am actually very proud of you for finding this blog, and for doing your own research. I am going to answer a few of your concerns and questions.
First, about the legal consequences of actions. In Texas, the statute of limitations has expired on legal action to be taken, but not civil action. Why the parents in Dallas did not take action was based on two reasons:
The first- most of the parents did not know until John was gone, because Prestonwood did not inform the parents.
The second- those kids and possibly parents, who did know, met with attorneys at the church and thought that they were giving depositions against John, which was not true. Depositions were taken, but only for the church, not legal action. And then John was gone...and no one knew where he went at that time, 23 years ago, before everything was available on the internet.
In Mississippi, the legal consequences are different. There are no statute of limitations in Mississippi. If current victims come out, he will face the current laws of Mississippi. Possibility of prison, or could get probation with a lot of restrictions. Depends on the judge.
I will give you some of my background. I was a probation officer in Dallas for 11 years, helped create a sexual offender unit in Dallas and worked with thousand of sexual offenders. I was trained under local law enforcement, sexual offender therapists, polygraphers, national therapists (such as Anna Salter, mentioned in one of these comments), and then had numerous trainings with the FBI's behavioral Science Unit. We also trained under many avenues of federal agencies and had annual conferences re: pedophiles and child molestors. Since I left the probation department, I have worked for 10 years in training churches, schools, day cares, etc on sexual offenders. How they obtain their victims, cover up their offenses, etc. I have extensive knowledge of this subject.
I say this so you understand that I truly understand the confusion you will have re: Mr. Langworthy. I also need you to understand that he will absolutely have people that he was close to and was an influence over, and did great things. The one thing that highly concerns me is the fact that you stated that you had friends that were "troubled teens" and Mr. Langworthy worked with them. I understand that you observe them as doing better. But I will say this, that some of the victims that I personally know of Mr.Langworthy would have never come across as anything but doing well, better even....because he was so good at spiritually and emotionally manipulating them. If any of these friends are male, then they were possibly at risk. There will be some that he absolutely would not have molested, because he needs to maintain a "support group" that will stand behind him 100% when a victim comes forward. Any pedophile of this nature will make sure that this happens. He needs to have "two separate lives". Mr. Langworthy has done this his entire life. He is very good at it. But....there will be others that he molested. That is the sad nature of this sin. I have spoken with many people in Mississippi re: Mr. Langworthy, including his attorneys and his pastor and his superintendant. None of them can tell me why they think Mr. Langworthy is not still molesting, other than "he is a good guy". Why, after molesting for over 24 years (that I know of, possibly longer) would he have just stopped when he came to Clinton? He did not have any intervention, no long term counseling, no accountability. Then, he placed himself in every position that he could find to have as much contact with children as poosible. The molestors that I worked with who were at any degree of recovery, would have NEVER done that. They would have avoided contact with children and youth at all cost. This is not what has happened here.

professional said...

I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this situation. I am sorry that you had to find it on a blog and that the church was not honest with you about what happened. The pastor and elders are fully aware of, and have spoken with two victims, (one from Dallas, one from another town in Mississippi) and John admitted to those two victims. He still refused to admit to anyone re: the other numerous victims that he has, because those victims have not contacted your church, so he has no reason to be honest and admit to those. He is only admitting to what he has been caught with, nothing more. I am very saddened for his daughters. Probably them most of all.
If you are aware, or become aware, of any victims in your group or town, please, for the sake of the victim and their lives, please tell the police. No one else has done the right thing here, everyone wants to cover up to protect John, and all of these victims are still are any in Mississippi that have had no choices yet. Victims are very slow to report, ESPECIALLY victims from churches. They are the hardest to come forward due to spiritual implications and leaders telling them to forgive and move on. Even David, in his sexual sin, was loved by God...but had consequences for his sin and behaviors. I am not saying that John does not need help...I believe he needs help DESPERATELY and tried to get him to go to counseling..but he refused. He just wants this to go away, he does not appear to want actual help. He just wants to move on like he has the rest of the time. I just want help for the victims.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please write back. I want you to be as informed as you can. Has your family met with the pastor of your church and asked them or the elders what is the real reason he left? I am interested to know if they will be honest about it.

Dee said...


You have done a great service with this posting and subsequent comments. My hats off to you.

Anonymous said...

I am so sad and pleased to see this blog post and the stories.

It is inexcusable for the pastor of Prestonwood and the parents of the minors NOT to have gone to the authorities in Texas.

And it is inexcusable for the church in MS to hire this man.

I believe in redemption and forgiveness. It is my hope that this man has changed.

But people in authority still have to see that justice is done. His crimes should have been reported.

And people in authority (the church in MS) have to duty to protect their current congregation and the children in it. Even if the man thinks he has changed, the nature of these crimes and behavior is such that people who have the duty to protect others should not gamble on that change. What if he has a relapse? Who would know?

If that happened, or if it is even alleged, the men who lead the church in MS have put the entire church, the children and the assets of the church at risk. That is not good stewardship.

I know that I have disagreed with some of you commenting on this blog in different places before, but on this matter we stand shoulder to shoulder, and I applaud New BBC for posting this.

The leaders in Texas and the leaders in MS should be ashamed.


Clinton Singer said...

To professional and to the other's who provided more information: Thank You. This whole situation is a shame, and now so much is coming to light in this situation. I don't know of any victims that he could have possibly had, because I never saw any strange attachments between him and any male student. He just acted like a father figure to us.

I wish I could ask the names of the victims and figure out more myself, but I understand that I would be over stepping my boundaries, yet I still wish them the best.

To all people involved, I can always say that I'm for justice to be served, but I can never bring myself to be opposing my mentor Mr. Langworthy. I don't think I could ever imagine being against him.
God bless!
P.S. Anonymous above, was indeed me. Sorry about not posting my i.d.

Christa Brown said...

Let's not forget that, back in 2008, after a Prestonwood staff minister was charged with solicitation of a minor, the pastor proclaimed that "in forty years of ministry I never had one moral problem with a staff minister... until now!"

So . . . what was he thinking? Was this not a "moral problem"? Or does he think it's only a "moral problem" if a minister is arrested and prosecuted?

At the time, the president of the SBC Executive Committee, Morris Chapman, even bragged about this pastor . . . as though he was setting a fine example. But what kind of example did he set when there wasn't already an arrest and when it wasn't already a headline?
But maybe we should take Chapman's brag with a grain of sale. After all, he was the same Executive Committee president who didn't budget a dime for a legitimate study of the Baptist clergy sex abuse problem despite the near-unanimous vote of 8000 messengers to the 2007 annual meeting. But oh gee whiz . . . Chapman sure preached a fine sermon.

At the end of Chapman's statement (in the link above), he compares the Southern Baptist Convention to a llama who "can be seen standing as a stately sentry protecting the sheep from the wolves." Southern Baptists "shall stand as a sentry in the midst of God's children," he says. But it's not true. The sentry is sick. The sentry is asleep. The doors are wide open. And the wolves are wandering loose and smirking.

This problem is much bigger than a single clergy predator . . . or a single clergy cover-upper. When there are no consequences for pastors who turn a blind eye and allow ministers reported for abuse to simply move on, you can be sure that this is exactly what will happen far too frequently. And when denominational officials choose to do nothing, the shame of it becomes the shame of the entire Southern Baptist Convention.

Houston SNAP said...

There is a critical difference between forgiveness and enabling.

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests:
Of course there's room for forgiveness. I have forgiven the priest who molested me. I hope that every victim can do the same. I hope all those who’ve ever been hurt can forgive all the wrong-doers.

But it's about protection of the innocent, not about punishment of the guilty. The reason we lock up molesters is not vengeance, it's safety.

Most of these men are dangerous. They are shrewd, manipulative, skillful, and deceitful.

Unlike carjackers and muggers, they don't need or rely on physical prowess or speed to commit their crimes. They rely on their cunning.

Unlike pick-pockets and shoplifters, they don't become less able to commit their crimes as they get older, they become more able, because through experience they learn even better how to detect and seduce the vulnerable and cover up their crimes. Plus they have the advantage – with stooped shoulders, graying hair, soft voices – of seeming even more harmless than they may have seemed in their youth.

There's also a huge difference between public policy and personal choice. I can choose to forgive my predator. That's admirable. But I can't knowingly allow him the chance to hurt others. That's irresponsible.

If we allow a convicted drunken driver to get behind the wheel of a school bus filled with kids, is that forgiveness or folly?

Look at Pope John Paul II. He visited his would-be assassin in prison. He prayed for the criminal. He did not, however, urge that the violent man be released. To do so would not have been Christian. It would have been reckless.

It pains me when some misunderstand and misapply the notion of forgiveness in ways that lead to putting other innocent kids and vulnerable adults in harm's way again, even in cases of proven, serial, predatory behavior by dangerous men.

One final point: we forgive after, not during, wrong-doing. In many instances, even now, the church hierarchy continues to act secretively, callously, and recklessly, which makes it extremely hard for some victims to even begin thinking about forgiveness.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

If anyone reading this blog has been abused by John Langworthy or has knowledge of this abuse to anyone, please report the abuse to your local police. Reporting is mandated by law and does not indicate that you are "against" the offender, rather that you are for protecting children and supporting innocent victims towards healing. The light of truth and knowledge is the most important tool. SNAP is available to provide support and help towards healing. There is a local support group in Jackson. I will be glad to answer any questions and provide contact information as needed as well as any other support I can.

Amy Smith
Houston SNAP

Angela said...

Amy @ Houston SNAP,

Excellent comments! Your explanations really hit the mark! Thanks to you, Christa, David, and so many others with SNAP for what you do!

KB said...

Here is some of the correspondence with the parties involved over the course of the last few months regarding the situation with John Langworthy:

1. From Dr. Philip Burchfield, superintendent of Clinton public schools Aug. 18, 2010 to me:
"I spoke with [professional] this morning...I will be contacting Prestonwood Baptist Church soon.

2. From Neal Jeffrey, an associate pastor at Prestonwood Baptist to me, Nov. 2010:
"Dr. Burchfield, the Superintendent did call me and we had a pretty frank discussion of John, and his time here. He said that he was going to call John in and have a discussion with him about all this stuff. I also called our attorneys, who were involved in all of this back then, and they were going to discuss what we need to do, and probably call Dr. Burchfield, etc, The attorney guys did not remember all of the specifics of the case, so they were going to go back into their notes etc, and see what needs to be done. I have not heard back from any of them, so I will make an attempt to see where all of that is."

and in Feb. 2011:
"Thanks for the email, and I am grateful that someone has come forward, and that the situation is being confronted, I will call that pastor, and talk with him."

3. From Mike Buster, executive pastor at Prestonwood to me in Feb. 2011:
"Thank you for taking the time to write us and share the information on John. I have discussed all of this with Dr. Graham. We were not aware of the most recent developements. Please know that we will cooperate fully with law enforsement agencies concerning this matter. God bless you."

4. From Greg Belser, pastor of Morrison Heights Baptist Church to me on 2/14/2011:
"My name is Greg Belser and I serve as the current pastor of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, MS. I would like to talk to you at your earliest convenience. Please call at ...."
"We have met and will meet again. We expect that our due diligence will take several weeks. At that time, we will formulate a long-term action plan, based on our findings."

5. From Greg Belser to a victim that contacted him, April 2011:
"Thank you for your willingness to converse with our men last Tuesday night.

We had a long and frank discussion with John and he was as transparent as any man I have ever talked to. Needless to say, it was difficult for him to speak it and difficult for us to hear it. He insists that you and [another victim who called Greg Belser] were the only two involved. All others were just crude play and vulgar behavior and we are evaluating it all.

Because of the gravity of the decisions staring at us, we are not eager to make a decision without all of our men present. Some are traveling now and others will be traveling next week. Additionally, Easter services for us are pretty all-consuming and I am not inclined to make this decision until after Easter. Therefore, we plan to take a few days to research, pray, and think before we regather.

As for John, I want to assure you that he has no contact here with children. He continues to lead our youth choirs but there are so many eyes on him right now, he is no risk to anyone. These are difficult days for us and we are seeking to be prudent and exhaustive. Thank you for your prayers for us.

As for your continued search for victims, that would be an important help to us. John is insistent that you will find none, other than just the crude and vulgar behavior. If you do find someone, we would want to talk firsthand with them and in complete confidence.

KB said...


I advised both the pastors at Prestonwood Baptist and Greg Belser at Morrison Heights that they need to report the sexual abuse of children that they have heard about directly from victims and from John's admission that has never been reported to law enforcement. I spoke with the Dallas Police who said that the staff of Prestonwood who knew and heard reports from victims about the sexual abuse of children under the age of 17 still need to make a report of that abuse that occurred in the mid to late 1980s that led to John Langworthy's firing. Prestonwood and Morrison Heights operated outside of law enforcement by doing their own internal investigation of the credible allegations of abuse. That is the job of law enforcement, not churches. That is a cover up.

Houston SNAP said...

Kalyn’s Secret: Every Parent’s Battle to Save Their Children:

"a compelling story of overcoming victory, Kalyn’s Secret chronicles the story of Kalyn Cherry, a pastor’s kid and straight-A student who also was the victim of child abuse. The oldest daughter in the robust Cherry tribe of twelve, Kalyn was very loving to her parents and siblings, seemingly the perfect child, until overnight she turned into a rebellious, suicidal, angry teen. At the age of 14, Kalyn became involved with a man in their church three times her age. An $800cell phone bill was the tip of the iceberg as the Cherry’s research for truth brought them face to face with a nightmare that had grown, even under their watchful eyes."
To Know a Predator

On Thursday, June 23, at 10:00 p.m. EST Nicole O'Dell of Teen Talk Radio will host a candid interview with Kalyn Cherry, co-author of Kalyn’s Secret: Every Parent’s Battle to Save Their Children. With current statistics showing that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18, Cherry will candidly discuss her own extreme teen crisis with child abuse and how parents can be prepared.

Amy Smith
Houston SNAP

WWJD said...

I have not read every posting from day one, but it looks like this forum has begun to morph from issues and concerns of BBC to being about child pedators.
If the predator is from or happened at BBC then it will be proper to discuss the concerns of this topic as it relates to BBC "here". There are other forums that already deal with this topic in a general and more encompassing manner.
SBC elected officals are not as "powerful" as we like them to be or think they are. In the SBC there is not a "Pope" because each member church is autonomous and an individual church to itself. Church discipline is within the church and done according to the scriptures as stated in the New Testament in the Bible.
Sadly the modern church has been institutionalized where protecting and maintaining the institution becomes more of a focus and importance than carrying out the Great Commission. Where we rather be entertained than worship and give honor and glory to God.
Have we forgot the lessons learned and mistakes to avoid from the self implosion of Jim Bakker's PTL Club and Heritage USA.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I have not read every posting from day one, but it looks like this forum has begun to morph from issues and concerns of BBC to being about child pedators.

Not really. It "morphs" as topics of interest or importance come up. The subject of child predators has been in the spotlight since the Paul Williams incident, but that is not and will not be the sole focus of this blog.

I have enough material about BBC to write a new article every day for the next three years, and then there'd probably be enough for another three years. However, I have neither the time nor inclination to put in that much effort. Let's face it. SG and BBC aren't that interesting. I will continue to post things that seem particularly interesting to me or which I think others might find of interest. Also, if someone has an idea for a new post I'm always open to suggestions.

If the predator is from or happened at BBC then it will be proper to discuss the concerns of this topic as it relates to BBC "here". There are other forums that already deal with this topic in a general and more encompassing manner.

Yes, Christa Brown's blog, for one, is an excellent resource, and there are indeed others. Just because a topic is covered in greater depth elsewhere doesn't mean it can't be discussed here.

Also, please show me another site where John Langworthy's exploits have been discussed. I can find none.

Speaking of BBC though, I have recently become aware of a former low-level BBC staffer who has been accused of being a child predator. (Apparently this one likes teenage boys.) Whether anything inappropriate occurred while he was at BBC, I don't know. I do know that accusations have come out of subsequent churches where he's been on staff and that law enforcement is aware of this and is supposedly (along with some citizen "watchdogs") keeping an eye on his movements today.

I would encourage anyone who was a victim of anyone fitting this description (or of any kind of abuse) to contact the police. The statute of limitations in Tennessee has been extended in recent years.

New BBC Open Forum said...

SBC elected officals are not as "powerful" as we like them to be or think they are. In the SBC there is not a "Pope" because each member church is autonomous and an individual church to itself.

Funny how they can be very "powerful" when it comes to kicking out "autonomous" churches who call a woman pastor. Or when they require seminary profs to sign the BF&M 2000. Or when they pass silly resolutions about global warming or instructing their members to boycott Disney. (Note they dropped that one before the SBC met in Orlando again.)

Yet when it comes to protecting children they turn a blind eye. They don't do anything because they don't want to admit there's a problem, and it might "tarnish" the reputation of the mighty SBC and leave a lot of egg on a lot of faces.

Church discipline is within the church and done according to the scriptures as stated in the New Testament in the Bible.

Are you kidding? How was John Langworthy disciplined by Prestonwood? How was Tommy Gilmore disciplined by Farmers Branch or FBC Atlanta? Or Darrell Gilyard by Paige Patterson (who I realize isn't a "church" but found it convenient to call SWBTS a "church" when he wanted to get rid of Sheri Klouda) or the succession of churches where Gilyard preyed on women and girls?

Most, if not all, of the churches where the above-mentioned former BBC staffer served were aware of his "activities," yet he was allowed to freely move on to each subsequent church (achieving a very cushy position at one) and will probably soon be employed by another church. Where's the "church discipline"? In most cases "church discipline" boils down to "out of sight, out of mind, we'll never speak of him again, and if anyone asks, deny any knowledge about anything."

Sadly the modern church has been institutionalized where protecting and maintaining the institution becomes more of a focus and importance than carrying out the Great Commission. Where we rather be entertained than worship and give honor and glory to God.

I concur wholeheartedly.

Anonymous said...

re: Church's comment of the pedophile's description:

"All others were just crude play and vulgar behavior..."

I could spit nails! As if JUST "crude play" &/or JUST "vulgar behavior" was less harmful?

If I was run over by JUST a little train rather than a big train, how harmed would I be? JUST a little?

It is pure Hogwash (blind deaf dumb) "reasoning" on the part of those church men... besides the fact the pedo is pulling the wool over their eyes. How? By admitting to a "lesser" offense (give them "a little something" to work with) as a scapegoat to save his tail from "larger" reality.

After 30 years of sex abuse info being so widely available, it is unforgiveable the continuing rampant ignorance among parents, educators, churches, etc. No excuses at this late date for people to still be so blind.

As already stated by others, pedophiles are notoriously "charming," charismatic, cunning, deceitful, & manipulative. Their entire existence & survival is enwrapped in lies. They are the original "candy man." That "mother of 4" is a prime example of ignorance & denial, having been entirely suckered by the pedo's "charm."

Jack Graham should be shot for letting the pedo move on with no legal consequences. He's no better than the RCC pope & "cardinals" who also turned a blind eye. There are new lawsuits over the past 6-7-8 years or so in some states wherein prior "clergy" who KNEW but chose not to report but just sent the pervs on their merry way, only to re-offend in other areas, can be held liable by new victims in the perv's new location. If any new victims come forward in the new location, I hope they sue Graham for neglience.

Also in the Feb. 2011 comment above, it said the perv was being watched, "had many eyes on him," to make sure he behaved. That is another obvious farce (of thinking by the church men). Ever hear of Houdini getting himself unchained? Apply that to a pedo. If he wants to re-offend he will find a way, eyes or no. Matter of fact, the extra "stress" of all the eyes will likely COMPEL him to do so just to get some "relief." Kids ("prey") are everywhere to be found, not just in that church or school. Is someone following that guy 24/7? And I mean 24/7! No trips to the 7/11 even for a soda by himself!

Lastly, where the son (of that mother) said the pedo daily told the class, "You are loved," creepers! Make my skin crawl!

Signed: A survivor who has done their homework for 20 years on the subject.


1. The judicial system should establish "cities of refuge" & send all the pedos to live there with each other!

2. Beware of the Freemasony "brotherhood" that runs rampant in the SBC (& elsewhere). Masons take oaths to protect ("lie") for each other, no matter the crime. Masons are everywhere, in law enforcement, the courts, the clergy, etc. Don't be surprised when pervs & other criminals get off easy or their crimes are kept hush-hush.

3. Saw a true reformed pedo on Christian TV several years ago. He publicly -- on TV -- admitted re his life & publicly validated the harm/pain caused to survivors & apologized to all child abuse survivors everywhere who were never validated for their pain. Now THAT was a true man, & very touching. He has a ministry to help victims, families, & even the pervs themselves. His name was Bob @ BrokenYoke Ministry . Org (or very similar title).


Anonymous said...

I've known this person "JL" for over 30 years. I'm not accusing these people in Texas of being untruthful. But I would like to know where the paperwork is & statements with "JL" admitting these accusations are the truth.

Several years ago, there was a situation going on in my life with one of my children. I called "JL" in the middle of the day, he came on his lunch hour and/or free period to pray with me.

Regardless of all the negative comments I'm seeing, this IS a Godly man. Say what you want, believe what you want - I know this man.

He would literally give everything he had - the shirt off his back to help someone.

I'm just asking before everyone jumps on the bandwagon of tossing stones his way, to search for the evidence, not just a personal statement from someone - but legal documents of proof.

And another thing, if this indeed happened over 20 years ago, why has it taken 20 years for this to come out & be discussed? He's been at the same location for a long time - why not pursue this & once he was at the church - why not make it public knowledge?

For some reason, none of this makes sense and it seems there are answers lacking.

I stand behind this man - 100%.

New BBC Open Forum said...


I just learned about it. Perhaps you should ask the people at Prestonwood, Morrison Heights Baptist Church, and Clinton High School who have known about this man's history all this time and didn't say anything.

If he did nothing wrong, why was he asked to resign from MHBC, and why will he not be working at CHS when school starts next month?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Several years ago, there was a situation going on in my life with one of my children. I called "JL" in the middle of the day, he came on his lunch hour and/or free period to pray with me.

So what? Paul Williams was the "Minister of Prayer" at Bellevue. I bet he prayed with a lot of people over the years. Yet he admitted to molesting his own son, and we have female victims' accounts of the things he said to them.

I never cease to be amazed at people's ability to compartmentalize their lives, both the abusers and those who defend them. I don't care how nice a guy he is, you cannot defend the indefensible.

Anonymous said...

I'm asking where is the proof, besides the comments here? Where's the documentation? In all courts of law, and for all crimes, there is a paper trail. Where is it? That's all I'm asking, show me the documentation.

KB said...

Each time that John has been found out, Prestonwood and Morrison Heights, churches have conducted their own internal investigation and confronted John. Both times he has admitted to the abuse he has been caught with. Prestonwood broke reporting laws by not reporting the abuse to police. They do have their own paper trail as their church attorneys took statements from victims, but in some cases, parents were not even notified. Ask Greg Belser and the 6 church elders, including Philip Gunn, John's attorney, about John's admission of the abuse at Prestonwood as well as prior to Prestonwood that occurred in Mississippi. They are required to report this abuse but haven't yet. This admission of abuse by John is what led to his forced resignation. Ask Dr. Phil Burchfileld why, without a "paper trail" John's contract was not renewed for the new school year. I called him today and asked if John was returning and he answered "That issue has been corrected." He stated that "the website has not been cleaned up yet."

New BBC Open Forum said...

I'm asking where is the proof, besides the comments here? Where's the documentation? In all courts of law, and for all crimes, there is a paper trail. Where is it? That's all I'm asking, show me the documentation.

Same place the legal documents proving Paul Williams' crimes are. And the documents proving you don't beat your spouse.

Since the victims have not pressed charges (their reasons vary, but I'll let the people who have been victims and deal with victims explain it to you), there is no "paper trail." John Langworthy is currently not listed on any sex offender registry, nor is Paul Williams. Do you know how few of these crimes are ever prosecuted? That's why even a criminal background check more often than not doesn't raise any red flags and why communication between churches is essential. Unfortunately it seems they expend all their energy trying to sweep this sort of thing under the rug instead of trying to protect potential victims.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I suspect there was a paper trail generated at Prestonwood as well as at Morrison Heights. Whether it ever saw the light of day is a different matter. Bellevue generated a report after the Paul Williams investigation. Of course, the people who were charged with conducting the investigation were all connected with the church (or had close ties to those who were), and police were not involved, so the whole thing was more or less a sham, designed (IMO) to buy time until they could figure out how to preserve SG's job and prevent PW from suing them, but nevertheless, a report was issued.

I suspect there's a more detailed paper trail with the Clinton school district since it seems secular organizations often have less tolerance for this sort of thing than churches. However, from what KB said, I'm not sure that's the case here. Sounds like they haven't quite finished sweeping this thing under the rug.

"That issue has been corrected."

Seriously? Is that all he said? Wonder how much they paid a lawyer to come up with that one? Reminds me of Ergun Caner's "factual statements that were self-contradictory."

KB said...

To: "where is the proof other than the comments here?" The proof is that John Langworthy is no longer the music minister at Morrison Heights nor the director of the Arrows Singers, neither of which decision is by his own choosing. To understand the devastation to victims and their families and dynamics encompassing this type of sexual abuse of children by clergy, if and when they ever tell someone that will report it to police, you need to consult a professional counselor specializing in child sexual abuse. Someone like Anna Salter Ph. D. who wrote the book Predators.

Book reviews:

Salter, known for such novels as White Lies, offers a direct and startling look at the alarming problem of sexual predators in the U.S. Drawing on her experience counseling victims and offenders, she creates a daunting picture for the readers. "This is not a book with complete and comfortable answers. It will not finish with a checklist for identifying a sex offender.... But if I do my job right, reading this book will make it harder for sex offenders to get access to you or your children," she says in her introduction. Despite some much publicized media cases, Salter believes there are many misunderstandings about sexual predators. Most of the crimes are premeditated and carefully planned, and fewer than 5% of sexual predators are caught. With anecdotes and case histories, Salter examines such various predators as rapists and child molesters. Then, she goes on to offer some specific strategies to avoid high-risk situations. These tactics consist of monitoring children, even teens, on the Internet; carrying a cell phone; using home security systems, etc. The descriptions of violent attacks and victims' experience will undoubtedly unnerve readers. However, the subject matter is likely to appeal more to police or psychology professionals. The strategies the author offers for readers are usually fairly obvious. While sexual crimes may be on the increase, readers may see this book as necessary only after they've been victimized rather than as a preventive guide.

Salter, a psychologist, draws on 20 years of studying sex offenders to provide a disturbing and absorbing look at how and why sex abusers generally get away with their abuse. Sex offenders are usually not the monsters most expect them to be; instead, they are charming, likable people who count on those traits to hide their true intentions and activities. Using interviews with sex offenders, Salter offers chilling portraits of a variety of people, including priests, teachers, coaches, and others who come in daily contact with children, who take advantage of their positions and the trust of children and their parents to commit heinous acts. Salter profiles child molesters, rapists, sadists, and psychopaths, including their general techniques for deception. Her final chapter, focused on helping parents to protect their children, emphasizes deflecting sex offenders--because detecting them is nearly impossible--with practical suggestions for vigilantly monitoring children's activities and who coaches or counsels them. Despite some chilling profiles, this is an insightful look at a subject that concerns all parents.

What motivates sexual abusers? Why are so few caught? Drawing on the stories of abusers, Anna C. Salter shows that sexual predators use sophisticated deception techniques and rely on misconceptions surrounding them to evade discovery. Arguing that even the most knowledgeable among us can be fooled, Salter dispels the myths about sexual predators and gives us the tools to protect our families and ourselves.

About the Author
Anna C. Salter, Ph.D., lectures and consults throughout the U.S. and abroad, and in 1997 won the Significant Achievement Award from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. She is the author of Treating Child Sex Offenders and Victims, Transforming Trauma, and several forensic mysteries. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

wondering said...

I am still confused as to why charges weren't brought up at his current employers if all of this information is the truth. The story that's being told locally is it was his choice to resign due to health issues. Nothing has been said about any of these accusations. There are stories all the time in the paper about charges against teachers for crimes such as this, but not one word of JL. So - why hasn't it been brought forth?

Professional said...

To Anonymous,
I have worked with sexual offenders (rapists and pedophiles) for over 10 years, hundreds of them. I am going to address your comments. The fact is, you really have no idea what you are talking about regarding sexual offenders. The truth is, good for you! No one should have to know the inner workings of the minds of sexual offenders. It is a very scary place to be.
No one has accused JL of not being a Christian. No one has accused him of not being a Godly man (in the areas that he chooses to be Godly). And you are right, no one has legally accused him. THAT IS THE PROBLEM IN OUR SOUTHERN BAPTIST SOCIETY! Churches will protect themselves DESPITE children. I am now dealing with a potential of 6 churches, two offenders and hundreds of victims...and NO LEGAL CHARGES!
Just because there are no legal charges does not mean that he is not a pedophile. I have personally spoken to the victims of both of these men that i am dealing with. The issue here is the fact that attorneys were involved, police were involved, and victims were afraid and ashamed....and spiritually manipulated by both JL and this other man and were scared to file charges....or the church "handled it"....BUT NOT LEGALLY!
So we now have 25 years worth of issues, because the churches will not do the right thing. Even in this case of JL's resigning. I have spoken in depth with Greg Belser, and with JL's attorney. The reason they gave for his resigning was health reasons....of course, he has health problems. Anyone who lives with what he has done for this long is going to have health reasons. But, again, the church covered themselves, not children. They DID NOT TELL THE TRUTH about why they asked him to resign. He was asked to resign because he lied about his sexual abuse, NOT JUST IN TEXAS BUT ALSO IN MISSISSIPPI, PRIOR TO HIM EVER COMING TO TEXAS...
Your comment about him being a good man, I have no doubt that he is. I have no doubt that he has every appearance of being an extremely Godly man...but he is also a HUGE risk to children. That will not change no matter how big of a percentage that you stick behind him. 100% does not change his number of victims, or his deviancy. It just has to do with your denial. This is why he has been able to maintain for so long...because he has done an EXCELLENT job of manipulating a lot of people.

professional said...

I had clients that had molested for 30-40 years,with literally hundreds of victims before they got caught legally. Maybe God is now just tired of waiting on people to do the right thing.
Sadly the issue here is not whether there are legal documents, but why are these churches covering it up.....Why is the church more important than victims?
I wish that Prestonwood had done the right thing. I wish that they had filed legal charges when these victims came forward. THEY WERE WRONG AND ACTED IN AN ILLEGAL MANNER. The pastor and youth minister who were there at the time are actually still on staff there. People should start contacting them with the outrage of their behaviors.

In relation to JL's current church, Morrison Heights, same thing should happen. A church does not have legal authority to do their own investigation of victims. There is no way they are attempting to contact every minor that JL had contact with in the last 10 years to find a victim. They have not handled this appropriately either.
It is not surprising to me to have people such as yourself come out in support for JL. He planned it this way, and in his heart (other than around children) he is probably a good man. The fact is, most sexual offenders are not scary, flasher, grab your children type of people. They are men you would trust and be friends with. There is a reason for that. They have two lives. You only see one side. Be thankful for that. Some of these people have seen his other side...and it has destroyed their lives.
Please feel free to comment back to me. I can answer any questions you or others might have, about sexual offenders or this person in particular.
I see someone posted about Anna Salter. I did a lot of training under her. She knows what she is talking abut.

professional said...

This would be a very good question to call Prestonwood Baptist church about and Morrison Heights Baptist Church. Prestonwood had victims, known victims, and they just refused to file charges. I am still trying to find out how they hushed up all of the parents, but what I am uncovering is that the PARENTS were not told of the abuse until JL was gone. The church "handled" the victims (underage boys) without the consent or contact of parents. There was a huge coverup, no idea if it consisted of financial gains or not. I do know attorneys were involved. The more people that contact Prestonwood, the better. They need to be held accountable for failure to report. They committed a crime by not doing so.
Re: JL's current church.....he was not fired for current victims. How could he? The victims have never been given a chance to come forward. They do not know that it is SAFE for them to report. He is still there, he still attends the church...he still has control. Until the public is able to be informed and parents can speak with their children of this knowledge, it will be difficult. Morrison Heights chose not to do this. They chose to "save John" (specific words from the pastor to me) instead of making this public. I am sure they have attorneys telling them what to do also. Who knows. All I know is that this behavior does not go away. He did not just drive to Mississippi one day and decide..."hey, I think I will stop molesting now". Does NOT HAPPEN.
Interestingly, the victims at Prestonwood did not COME FORWARD with molestation charges of JL. A former victim from Mississippi (prior to John's time at prestonwood) called the church and said, "you need to know what happened here and what you have on your hands". At this time, Prestonwood began to speak with children, and victims came forward. If Prestonwood had also made it public, I am sure there would have been even more victims from Prestonwood. The point is, the victims at Prestonwood did not COME FORWARD on their own, just as they won't at Morrison Heights. It is not safe for them to do so. When you give their offender a going away party, and they see all of the "sad people who love him"...there is no way they will come forward. Morrison Heights did not make it a safe environment for victims to come forward...and they still have not.
There are so many other churches , of many different religions, that do the same thing. This is what makes offenders flock to churches. Sadly, they are protected over victims in most cases. And they know this because churches have established this as norm. I have even been told this by offenders. Churches have been a safe place for me and victims are easy. This is wrong and needs to stop!

Anonymous said...

Why is this not in the News and Newspapers? I think the city of Clinton needs to let everyone know about this!

New BBC Open Forum said...

David Brown asked me to post this for him.

David said...

Dear Anonym: I am not sure where to start. Your continued denial troubles me. You question as to why it took 25 years to bring this to light. All I can do is to try and explain my situation. I was sexually abused and raped by an extremely popular priest in 1961. Did I ever try to tell anyone, NO? No one would have believed me if I had spoken out about a very charming, GODLY, loving priest (minister). So what did I elect to do? I remained silent for over 35 years and then took another 9 years to talk about what this godly man did to me. And I found out I was not alone; I had over 100 fellow victims/brothers of this very godly man.

Your questioning the time frame shows so little understanding of the horrors of this crime. Please go or and begin to learn about this real crime. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys WILL be sexually abused before they reach 18 in the United States today. Just 2 years ago it was reported that there 39 million victims but today they are now reporting over 42 million victims. I am sure you would agree with me that just ONE victim is too much. This is not a crime of the past but of the present.

This crime and offenders thrive on victims remaining silent. What JL never figured was survivors and supporters of those survivors would unite, network and dare speak out openly. The only reason that more attention has not been brought JL is that I have not had a chance to come down to Clinton and do a press conference. This is coming.

The problem with our Southern Baptist churches is too many leaders refuse to admit this crime and are more concerned for the well-being of the pedophile minister than they are for the victim. In the Paul Williams case here at Bellevue/Memphis all kinds of mis-statements were made by the senior pastor there as to why he did not fire Paul when instead he kept him on staff there for 6 months after Paul admitted he was a pedophile that abused his own son. Want to hear something even crazier? Paul’s new church recently made him a trustee over finances. Yet at that same church I cannot be a deacon because I am divorced yet a pedophile can be a trustee? Please give me a break; how Godly and moral is that? And for the record, I am a Southern Baptist with membership at FBC-Millington.

You talk about wanting proof. Just go ask him; in fact I dare you. You have to ask yourself why he has hired an attorney if he is innocent. What kind of practice does Mr. Gunn do? Do you know? His primary job is a civil defense attorney. Those are attorneys you hire when you have injured or hurt someone. Please connect the dots.

You can love, trust JL all you want but it will not change what he is. But for God’s sake never let your children alone with him, especially if you have sons. Otherwise you just might find out some 25 to 35 years from now firsthand he is truly a pedophile. I pray that never happens and you do some research. It is way past time to stop the denials. Children at risk if you don’t.

David Brown

SNAP director of Tennessee/Memphis & West Tennessee


Anonymous said...

To Professional:

I'm not trying to deny these things don't happen in any walk of life. I guess I'm just confused as to wtih all the comments & information here, why hasn't someone on this site gone to the paper in the City of Clinton or in Jackson - called 3 On My Side or some of the news channels to make this public?

I guess this is the part that is hard for me to understand. It can be done in many ways - why not get the word out. Forget the school & church not doing it. Don't you think it people of the city need to know and all those that could or maybe have been affected by this?

Anonymous said...

Professional: It is hard to read this here & find it out and the people I know haven't said anything about it. I do know the attorney involved. I know sexual predators come in different shapes/different aspects of life, etc. I guess I just find it so hard to believe based on the person that I have known for so many years.

And I know people can live a different life & be one way & act another. You have to understand from the people that never knew any of this - how hard it is to understand. Doesn't make me stupid - just causes me pain to hear this & read all of this information.

This does bother & affect me because my children have been a part of his life. And without asking - yes, if it happened to my kids - I would go after him in every way possible.

It's not that I don't feel for these victims, I never said that or expressed it, because I do. This is a lot of information to absorb after knowing this person for so long. It saddens me in a way that's hard to explain & knowing nothing is being done about it makes it even worse.

This is just a blog site - I just wish those that know so much about this situation would get it out to the public. Because I know not many people know of this - because I would have heard something about this by now.

KB said...

To answer the question raised about why hasn't someone contacted local media in MS: I have, sent every Jackson station a tip, as well as the paper, about 7 months ago. I heard back from one reporter who rightfully is very concerned, but I am not a victim, their advocate, yes, and with personal knowledge of John's history, but this reporter as well as other very good reporters in other areas I have talked to, need to hear from a victim, that is, when there has not yet been a public record to report such as charges, lawsuit, etc.. You mention 3 on my side, that is WLBT, and Dan Modisette is the general manager. Dan is one of the 6 Morrison Heights elders who heard directly from past victims and knows the truth. As concerned citizens and parents, you should let the media, as well as these churches and school involved, hear from you. The most powerful tool in protecting children is the light of knowledge and truth.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Dan Modisett

President/General Manager WLBT

Contact WLBT

New BBC Open Forum said...

Let me respectfully suggest that those of you coming here from Clinton (and you are legion) whose children were ever around JL, as well as anyone whose children could have been around him at Prestonwood, whether your children are still in school or grown, have some serious heart-to-heart talks with your children today. You may think "something like that" could not happen to your children, but it can happen to any family. It has nothing to do with race, class, socioeconomic status, or educational level.

Victims often hide the pain and shame for decades and some never speak of it. It is statistically unlikely that a predator with this long a history had only 2 or 3 victims. PLEASE talk with your children and encourage other parents to talk with their children. Find out if your children suspect any of their friends or classmates could have been victims of this man. TALK TO THEM!

One in 4 girls and one in 6 boys will be victims of sexual abuse by age 18. Those are the statistics. Chances are that if you or your children weren't victims (and thank God every day that you were not), there's a good chance you or your children know someone who was.

Do not assume anything because no one's family is immune. Men like this are charming and charismatic and know how to groom their victims. They're not going to "look" scary, but because they don't, because they are so good at what they do, and because churches (and in this case also a school) are more concerned with their image and protecting the abuser, the abuse continues in the next town he's allowed to go. Only the victims speaking out can stop this.

Victims, contact your local SNAP office and call the police where the abuse occurred. Call David Brown (901-569-4500). He can advise you what to do. There is help and you can make a difference. No one said it's easy, but you only have to reach out. Remaining silent only enables these abusers. Don't let it happen to another victim!

KB said...

Yes, please, parents, talk with your children, any that have ever had any contact with John. Call them wherever they are, even grown children, in college or even older...22 years have passed since he was fired from Prestonwood. It is never too late to come forward, but please go to the police, not the churches. If there is any suspicion of abuse, it must be reported. I have talked with Clinton police chief Don Byington a few months ago. He was concerned then, so please contact him to discuss any concern that you may have about any child in Clinton or who used to be in Clinton that may be or may have been a victim, or the local police in Jackson, Pascagoula, Dallas, or wherever the abuse occurred. As David Brown said, help and support is available through the SNAP network. Do not let the actions of a few who are covering the truth to protect John keep you in fear and silence. Greg Belser attempted to silence me about 5 months ago, by telling the first (past) victim who called him, to tell me to "cease and desist." This victim told Belser that he would not do that. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

New BBC Open Forum said...

KB makes an important point. Do not contact the churches if you or someone you know was a victim. They will only try to silence you.

Now, if others want to contact the churches to let them know you disapprove of their silence then by all means do. They need to know that they are no longer going to be allowed to intimidate victims into silence and protect abusers. The internet is a powerful tool, and it's a whole new day.

Morrison Heights Baptist Church Staff

Clinton Police

Prestonwood Leadership

SNAP Network

professional said...

@Anonymous, Thank you for your response. I actually did try to attempt contact with Dan Modesett from the news station, who is also an elder at the church, and he personally heard from two of John's prior victims (as did the pastor of Morrison Heights and all of the other elders), but Mr. Modesett did not respond back to me. There has been contact with media, but they have strict guidelines when reporting. I advise you to speak with the elders of Morrison Heights and the pastor. Ask them if they heard from victims. Ask them about the truth.

Anonymous said...

I understand from all the comments, etc that for some reason he doesn't have to register as a sex offender? Is this because no charges were brought against him?

And if "3 on your side" isn't going to go along with things due to the Elder working there, there are other TV channels.

Have any of you with the first hand knowledge of this whether related or directly involved with the victims contacted local adversaries to see if the story could be told publically?

I would never wish this upon anyone, but if it's happened before - the odds of it happening again is great. With all the years of teaching / choir directing - JL has had an unlimited amount of influence to young people. It scares me to think the number of kids he's been around.

I feel those that know the details, know the facts, know the instances - owe it to those here to act upon it without ceasing. I only know what I read here, and I'm not saying you haven't tried. The saying "the squeaky wheel gets the most oil" applies in every thing in life.

Make a flyer - pass it out - put this link on it - give the facts, the church in Texas information, make it known to the public.

Fax it everywhere - stores / churches / schools - mail it out in bulk - whatever it takes if it means saving one person or having someone come out that's been holding this in for years.

The victims need to know people care & people want the facts out.

If you do it anonymously, then I see no reason it can't be brought out to the public.

Anonymous said...

To the mother of the h/s singer:

I too had children in his choir & under his leadership. If all these comments/posts are true - wouldn't you want to know if your children were a victim of this situation? I would.

I've talked to my children without telling them why I was asking. I asked them to tell me if anything has ever happened that was inappropriate without naming JL. I asked them as it related to school/church/trips.

I believe yes God forgives us for our sins, but I do feel we've been mislead, lied to & it's been a cover up if all of this is true.

I would hate to know the school system & the church allowed it to be covered up. I see all the time where teachers have been dismissed, their picture on the news & investigated for less than what is being printed here at this blog.

For those with information & facts - don't give up on contacting the local newspapers, schools, churches, media, represenatives - I say continue it.

I feel parents DO have the right to know if this is factual. And anyone wanting to cover it up - is just as guilty.

New BBC Open Forum said...


A while back I changed the long-standing rule that commenters had to register and make their profiles visible since we haven't had any issues recently and some were having trouble logging in.

However, at that time I requested that instead of choosing the "Anonymous" option those who want to post comments without logging in select a unique screen name. This lets everyone tell the difference between one anon and another.

Under the box where you compose your comment where it says "Choose an identity," just check "Name/URL" and type in the screen name of your choice. You can leave the URL field blank. It would also be helpful if you'd use the same screen name for any subsequent comments.

This just makes reading easier and doesn't result in one person being credited for writing something s/he didn't.



KB said...

Through contact with the Dallas Snap director, I found out about Tahira Merritt, a child sex abuse attorney in Dallas specializing in clergy abuse, A few months ago I spoke with a member of her legal team about this situation with John Langworthy. They are willing to meet with any victims, no charge. Their law firm coordinates with criminal authorities, district attorneys offices and communities, etc. on behalf of the victim, who can remain anonymous as john doe in a lawsuit. It is important for victims and their families to know that there are experienced clergy abuse attorneys like Tahira who will be their advocate for justice, helping navigate through the difficulty of coming forward to report the abuse, no matter how long ago or recent the abuse occurred. If you would like to speak with them, call 214-503-7300 and ask to speak to Lori Watson.

New BBC Open Forum said...


Is the firm's offer good regardless of the state in which the abuse happened?

court jester said...

I'm just signing in to see if this works.

New BBC Open Forum said...

It works, but I cringe to think how "court jester" and this subject are related.


KB said...

Yes, Tahira Merritt and Lori Watson are very willing to speak with victims or anyone on their behalf even if they are outside of Texas.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Link to law firm

New BBC Open Forum said...

Attention all you who knew but kept quiet about PW and JL's "moral failures"...

You might find this of interest.

Hope you sleep well.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Did anyone see this story about the MCS principal who was just fired?

Only because Thad Matthews did an interview on his radio show and a video by the victim was aired on the website. The school had done an "internal investigation" and determined nothing was wrong. This is why organizations should not be allowed to conduct "internal" investigations. It's like letting the fox guard the hen house.

Anny1 said...

I just want to throw-up

John Richardson said...

How should the Christians of Clinton respond to this information? Here are some thoughts...

New BBC Open Forum said...

Those are some good thoughts. I would suggest that the church begin by being straightforward about why he resigned. From all indications he was "allowed" to resign. Usually what this means is that you either resign or you'll be fired.

JL and Morrison Heights need to drop this facade that JL resigned for "mental and emotional reasons" and come clean. If he's repentant he should apologize to his victims, his church, and all those he's deceived all these years. He should seek counseling, stay away from children, and spend a lot of time on his face with God. That is, if he's repentant.

Much like with Paul Williams, who to this day has not publicly apologized or shown any sign of repentance, I don't see any evidence JL is sorry for anything except that he got caught. I hope I'm wrong, but so far I don't think I am.

The school district needs to come clean, too. What are they planning to tell people when JL isn't in class when school starts later this month? If you're going to stick with "That issue has been corrected," at least tell people what the "issue" is. Notify parents whose children may have had contact with JL over the years. Encourage them to talk with their children to try to determine if there have been more victims, and if it's even suspected there is another victim, contact the police.

Rarely are these isolated incidents. JL is known to have had more than a handful of victims in Dallas, and there are at least two in MS who have made accusations. I fear these are only the tip of the iceberg. If you believe this was one isolated incident 30 years ago you are very naive.

I'm sorry whenever anything like this happens. Churches and schools should be safe places for everyone, especially children. When church and school authorities cover for abusers they are just as guilty as the abuser as they are accessories to his future crimes. It's also a shame the people of Clinton did not learn about this from their own leaders who continue to cover for him. There should be some head-rolling going on in Clinton right now.

David said...

First of all when a pedophile minister abuses it is not only a sin but a CRIME! Let’s not whitewash that please John?

Folks I have received numerous phone calls the past few days concerned about what to do. Let me repeat this as I think it has been posted before. This is the law and there are NO exceptions: If you suspect there is child abuse going on you MUST report it. It is a crime not to report it or sweep it under the rug internally. Please do not take the word of any pedophile when they tell you there aren’t any more victims out there. And I don’t care when the crime happened. Do you really think these monsters quit at one or just a few? Call DHS in your area or the police. Do not try to investigate, let the professionals that are trained do their job. Do NOT go to your pastor first; you can do that after you have reported it to the law. I am a licensed Private Investigator and I would not dare to take in on myself to find out if there is really abuse going on; I just make the phone calls.

I have seen time and time again pastors and other religious leaders circle the wagon to protect the offending minister. They show more concern and compassion to the pedophile minister rather than the victim and their family. What message does that send to other victims that are sitting in those pews? Remember those stats I posted earlier. Look I am not try to destroy the Body of Christ. Far from it; I am trying to preserve it. By not being honest, transparent with the church family, pastors make victims of them also. And please don’t give me that argument about what about the pedophile’s family. My heart goes out to them also but never let that be a reason for not doing the right thing. Look when a pedophile elects to abuse they not only make a victim of the child but the victim’s family, his own family and sadly the church family. It was a conscious decision they made when they acted out and abused. They should be held accountable. Think for a one minute, you are a sexual abuse victim and you are aware of “grace” being granted to a pedophile minister and he is allowed to go anywhere in the church freely. What did message did you just say to that victim?

I made a DVD project (Sacred Secret) with Andrea Conte, former first lady of Tennessee. It details how to deal with clergy child sexual abuse in the faith community. It depicts the story of 4 individuals, a girl whose father sexually abused her while he was a deacon and still is; a minister that has it right, a pedophile priest and my story and why I have the strong faith I have. We show it all over the state at churches, schools, youth groups etc.

I would welcome the opportunity to meet with any of you to show it and try to answer your questions. I should be able to get the Child Advocacy of Jackson to be there with me. It is so important to handle this crime properly. I know there are a lot of confused and hurting souls right now. It is not necessary. I call on the people that can correct this hurt to do so now.

Lastly to those that have been a victim of a pedophile, there is hope. Take your time; we are here for you when you are ready. You must know you are not alone.

David Brown
SNAP director of Tennessee/Memphis & West Tennessee

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Richardson said...


Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts. I have no intention of "whitewashing" this as anything less than a crime. It is clearly understood that this is a criminal act. At the same time, you cannot "whitewash" the issue that this is an offense against God. It was ultimately His children that were violated. So, while working will all proper authorities, we should ultimately seek to imitate and follow the leadership of God.

Jerry b said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
New BBC Open Forum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

OMG! I am also a mom in Clinton and I hope someone can get this out in the open. Whoever you are who wrote this blog, keep calling, keep barraging the media until someone listens to you. Those people at Morrison Heights need to wake up and find out how many kids he has abused so they can get the help they need. And someone needs to publicly ask Dr. Burchfield why it took so long to fire him after finding out the truth. To that other 'mother in Clinton", Wake up sister!!!! He is the pied piper, luring children with his beautiful song. And molesting kids is not a mistake. I'm sure his victims would agree with me.

David said...

John I too agree with you about seeking the leadership of God but I will ask your forgiveness on the front end. There are some crimes that you cannot spiritualize and this is one of them. I have seen firsthand way too many times how Southern Baptist leaders hide behind "grace", "forgiveness" etc when confronted with this crime and remain stiff necked in light of Scripture. It is such a shame and it is what I would call a sin. They go out of their way to accuse the victim of not being a "good" Christian for not forgiving. That is one reason so many of us remained silent for so long. They benefited from our silence. Well not anymore. The very last thing a pedophile ever considers that someday his victims will speak out. They count on our shame and humiliation to remain silent. Just recently we saw a retired senior pastor who was at his church for over 20 years here in Memphis plead guilty to sexually abusing boys and now instead of his name being on SBC website he is on the sex offenders list. And like the situation in Clinton his former church at first refused to see the truth and many of their members got very angry with me. They accused me of destroying the Body of Christ. There are so many survivors of clergy sexual abuse that hate God and do not want to hear anything about Him or church. They feel Jesus raped them. And to compound it the church will not reach out to them. Now that is destroying the Body of Christ and certainly a sin.

Well no more. I too am sickened to see this crime in our churches but I am even more appalled when it is being whitewashed as this situation has been not only in the church but with the school. You have got to know by now everyone concerned has lawyered up. Folks you have to ask yourself this question, is that Scriptural? It certainly is not!

If any of you doubt what some of us are saying, just go to Christa Brown’s website, Stop Baptist Predators. Let me warn you in advance it is not pretty but it is the TRUTH! Christa has been trashed and written off by so many “godly” men in their continued denial. All she ever asked was for a database to be established. If the SBC would do that; when a pedophile moves to another church he can be tracked. Surly the SBC has enough funds to do that. I would consider that good stewardship in trying to really protect our children.

One last thought: people that rely on “well we ran a background check” thing; please that is really weak. If good people would start reporting bad people when they abuse children that would be a start. Instead what happens is the appearance to world that the pastors and other leaders are more concerned about their image and buildings than they are their sheep. Once again that is a big sin.

David Brown

John Richardson said...

BBC Forum,

Jerry B..... About ten years ago I was in his choir. I remember funny things happening. Alot of spankings

Please pardon my skepticism. This isn't a joking matter. If you have information, please contact the police.

If this is the Jerry B I think it is, he's not taking this lightly. His comment may have come across the wrong way, but I assure you he is not laughing at this matter.

Thank you for keeping the forum honest, though. The last thing we need is comments in poor taste from people who don't care about the consequences.

John Richardson said...

No need to ask for my forgiveness. We agree on a lot more than you think. I appreciate your passion to protect the innocent, as that is also a passion of God. I just want the people of Clinton to understand that there is a road to healing and it is not by abandoning the church. In fact it is the opposite. The road to healing is through the church. She (the church) must be willing to take the hard road of loving and loving enough to do the right things.

Thanks again for your passion.

sick77 said...

My sibling was molested by a youth leader in Greenville,Ms many years ago and the church never knew because he knew no one would believe this jerk is out there lurking again I'm sure. This mess needs to stop!!

Jerry Blankenship said...

I don't know who is getting on here acting as if they are me, but it is not appreciated. I was just informed of this and would greatly appreciate it if this comment was removed. My name does not need to be mentioned on here in any way. This is very childish. Grow up.

Jerry b said...
Jerry B..... About ten years ago I was in his choir. I remember funny things happening. Alot of spankings

4:11 PM, August 01, 2011
New BBC Open Forum said...
Jerry B..... About ten years ago I was in his choir. I remember funny things happening. Alot of spankings

Please pardon my skepticism. This isn't a joking matter. If you have information, please contact the police.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Okay. It was exactly this sort of thing that made me implement the rule that anyone who comments must register and make their profile visible. Play nice or we can reinstate that rule.

KB said...

sick77 said...
"My sibling was molested by a youth leader in Greenville,Ms many years ago and the church never knew because he knew no one would believe this jerk is out there lurking again I'm sure. This mess needs to stop!!"

I am so sorry this happened to your sibling. Please know that it is never too late to report abuse to law enforcement authorities wherever the abuse occurred. Mississippi has no statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. And thankfully other states have also reformed statutes of limitations that account for how long it takes some victims to come forward. It is crucial to make these reports because other children are at risk from the abuser. As mentioned in earlier comments, SNAP can offer support,

Sadly, this feeling is common among victims of child sexual abuse, that no one will believe them, and the abusers know this and capitalize on it. In fact, they count on fear and silence to keep the truth covered, leading to prolific abuse by the same abuser over many years.

I have witnessed this firsthand in this situation with John Langworthy. I am the one who posted the original comment, if you are new to this blog, by the way. Greg Belser, pastor of Morrison Heights, heard directly from 2 past victims. After the first one called him in Feb., he confronted John and heard John's admission. About a month later, while the elders and Belser were supposedly conducting their "investigation," Greg Belser called this victim and proceeded to ask him had he considered how his, (the victim's) name would be "dragged through the mud if [I] continued to tell people" about John? This courageous victim reminded Belser that he was a victim, a child, and he had done nothing wrong. Sadly, this line of questioning is revictimization. This is case in point what "professional" is referring to when stating that Belser and MH leadership have not created a safe environment for kids to come forward. In fact, they have discouraged them, and it is hard not to think that this is by design to protect John's reputation, since, Greg Belser told me and professional on a phone call in Feb. that "everyone in Clinton" knows John Langworthy.

In that call, Belser told us he had 3 options. 1. Fire John and expose him publicly. (yes, we said, this is the only right option to find victims, get them help and protect children)
2. Let him resign 3. Keep him but with "high fences" around him

About 6 weeks or so after this call, Belser and the elders called me to arrange a conference call with "professional" to tell us the results of their "investigation" and comfortable decision to keep John on staff. I said that the only acceptable decision was to fire him and inform the congregation why, so parents could talk to their kids. At this news, another past victim came forward to report abuse by John to Belser and the elders. This abuse happened to a young child. About 6 weeks later, they forced John to resign, and he did so, citing mental and emotional reasons I was told. John had his attorney contact "professional" to send me a message asking that we not take this any further than we already had. A week later, they held a church reception of appreciation for him.

As the church, the body of Christ, it is crucial, in order not to alienate victims, that we frame this issue of the sexual abuse of children by ministers and others in positions of trust in the proper context of the criminal behavior that it is, not merely as "sin" issues of "moral failures" as in an extramarital affair by a minister for example. 

And we must speak out for those who cannot speak out...yet...hopefully and prayerfully helping them find their voice.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, you said

"Speaking of BBC though, I have recently become aware of a former low-level BBC staffer who has been accused of being a child predator. (Apparently this one likes teenage boys.) Whether anything inappropriate occurred while he was at BBC, I don't know. I do know that accusations have come out of subsequent churches where he's been on staff and that law enforcement is aware of this and is supposedly (along with some citizen "watchdogs") keeping an eye on his movements today.

I would encourage anyone who was a victim of anyone fitting this description (or of any kind of abuse) to contact the police. The statute of limitations in Tennessee has been extended in recent years."

In light of all that is now occurring, would it not be prudent to name this person. You could even do it anonymously if you fear legal repercussions. To my way of thinking, this individual could be better "watched" if people had a better idea of his identity. How do you feel about this?

David said...

John: Thank you very much. Sadly in reality pastors and other leaders wait too long to deal with this crime properly and when the evidence finally comes out, the congregation is ripped apart, members flee and to the world the Body of Christ is shamed. That is so sad and not necessary. John thank you for your thoughts and prayers; very wise words.

KB: Very well said. Please people if you suspect someone is an abuser or you suspect abuse report them. How do you know there haven’t been other reports before? Just maybe there is a file on them. At the least it will get their name back on the radar.

I hear a lot of talk in churches about how to restore the pedophile minister. There is much discussion about how to do that, sometimes heated. But what about restoring the victim? Can that even happen? I often use a term called Soul Murder when talking about the dynamics of clergy sexual abuse. Please let me explain. Think about the life that child had PRIOR to their sexual abuse. What about the innocence and dreams they had. What they wanted to be in life; those are all gone and in its place is this confused, very hurt shell of a human being. What about them? What can we do to restore them? As my rapist was raping me I would cry and ask him why, his response? “David, God knows my needs and He has given you to me”. Try and wrap your head around that and this coming from a man that was called by God? But I hear very similar stories from other survivors.

I was part of the special Oprah show last year when 200 other male child sexual abuse survivors were invited to Chicago to be part of a very special show. They asked us to take part in several polls. Over 94% of those men felt their childhood ended and died when the abuse began. That person that was does not exist anymore. Over 73% considered suicide and 37% actually tired, some more than once. I am one of that 37% group.

Survivors there is help and you are not alone, not by a long shot. You don’t have to be afraid or shamed anymore. When you are ready there is help. Take your time but know we will be here. You are in our prayers.

David Brown
SNAP Director of Tennessee/Memphis & West Tennessee

New BBC Open Forum said...


I deleted the comments you requested last night. You were the one who posted your name and copied and pasted those comments here. There are lots of "Jerry B's" in the world. I am not going to go back and delete comments just because they referred to someone named "Jerry B." Your comment last night made it clear that you are not the person who commented as "Jerry B." I think that's all that needed to be said. Since over 1000 others have already seen those comments do you not think it's better to let your correction stand to clear your name?

I will not publish any future comments referring to "Jerry B." One was received this morning and rejected.

As I said yesterday, if everyone can't grow up and act like adults, we will go back to requiring everyone register and make their profile visible. I'd rather not do that because some people have problems logging in later, but if the silly games don't stop I will.

To "Concerned Dad" whose comment was rejected: If you truly have firsthand knowledge and have something to say, please just say it without referring to anyone else by name. Better yet, why don't you "go talk to someone in law enforcement"?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 8:50,

I was wondering when someone was going to pick up on that. It will come out in due time. I'll just repeat what I said before, and that is I would encourage anyone who was a victim of anyone fitting this description (or of any kind of abuse) to contact the police. In fact, if you even suspect abuse report it and let the authorities sort it out.

To my way of thinking, this individual could be better "watched" if people had a better idea of his identity. How do you feel about this?

How do I "feel" about this? I feel sick, angry, and disgusted that this man has been allowed to freely move from church to church for years and that the people who now say they knew for years what he is didn't have the backbone to contact the police or warn anyone. That's how I "feel" about this!

Now, all feelings aside, if you're asking what I think should be done at this point, it's already being done. He has been reported to local authorities although he's not in Memphis anymore, and the authorities and others where he is now are keeping a close eye on him and warning churches where he's been spotted. Trust me, if you were a victim of this man or know a friend or family member was a victim, you already know who he is, and I would encourage you to contact the police and David Brown in the local SNAP Network. David just posted his contact information again.

For the rest of you who are just curious, I'll just say for now that it's a musician who was and still is beloved by many and a lot of people are not going to be willing to believe what he is when it comes out. And no, as I said before, it's NOT someone whose first name begins with a "J". (I figure that rules out at least three people.) Those of you who have been or were at Bellevue for a long time need to just think. I'm sure the signs were there because apparently plenty of people knew for years and did nothing. I have received evidence that this isn't just a rumor or I wouldn't have mentioned it at all, but I will not post the name until it comes out.

Lisa said...

Dear KB
I realize you were not a direct victim. However it seems from what I have read that you know victims and that they have spoken with both school and church leaders. Is this correct? IF so can those victims be purseuded to report it to the media and appropriate authorities. I know their identity would be protected and they can stop this man and allow those abused here to feel like they can come forward. I don't understand the feelings they must have, and maybe it is too hard. But since they have already spoken with those leaders who are doing nothing more than giving him a pass to go elsewhere and continue this cycle, perhaps they would be willing to do more. I want to help stop him. I just don't know how. News outlets won't do anything until they hear from a victim or see a police report.

Mom of 2 said...

Wow. Lots to take in. My identity: mother of 3 (one boy, two girls), lived in Clinton 27 years (moved 4.5 years ago to another town in MS), taught school, attended this very church and know Clintonians that are involved in the is story.

First, let's remember that blogs are what they sound like they would be... blah. They are meant to be the musings, thoughts, and ideas of an individual. They are not regulated by the government to be 100% factual. They are one person's viewpoint of a situation.

I believe the information in this post is more than likely a very accurate account of what took place 21 years ago and what has taken place since that time. Having said that, and having established my credentials in the first paragraph, my question to this blogger would be, why did you go with this angle of this story? Here we are in 2011 in a community with absolutely NO complaints or accusations of this individual who has lived here for 20 years and you are asking why nothing is being done to him. To me, the bigger question is why didn't anyone do anything 21 years ago? Where are these parent's now? Where is the information about what took place then, and why THEY CHOSE not to prosecute? What actually took place 21 years ago? You have chosen instead to take a man who for 20 years has proven himself to be rehabilitated, and make his name mud. You have chosen to report on what a principal, superintendent and pastor have said about a man who has NO accusations against him in the 20 years. What are they to do? The law states that a convicted sex offender cannot and should not hold these positions in the community, but that is out of their hands as Mr. Langworthy is NOT a convicted sex offender and has proven that even, at one time, in his past (20+) years ago, he did molest children, he has not since and his character has been restored. I have been a christian for over 10 years (32 years old now) and I smoked pot when I was in highschool, a handful of times, but was never arrested for it and it would be crazy to ask to arrest me now on my illegal behavior. Again, the better question would be why didn't I get arrested 15 years ago. These people whose children had been molested and who chose not to press charges are the ones who should be under fire over this matter, NOT the people you listed in your blog.

New BBC Open Forum said...

{sigh} Here we go again. I did not go looking for this story. I had never heard of JL, Morrison Heights Baptist, or for that matter, Clinton, MS.

Christa Brown first posted this story in April but used pseudonyms. Then I received a letter from someone with SNAP inquiring about a former staff member at Bellevue I've learned has a track record as a pedophile. In pursuing that story the JL story was mentioned, and the person posted a comment about JL in an earlier thread on this blog. Others commented, I checked out the credentials of the original commenter and the credibility of the story, and found the person to be both qualified and credible.

So I moved the original comment to a new post and it took off from there.

How do you know JL has had no victims in the past 20 years? He had more than just a couple in Dallas. Why did the victims not come forward at the time? Why were charges not filed? You'd have to ask the victims, but one thing I've learned about sexual abuse is that victims often don't come forward for decades, if ever. Jack Graham and others on staff at Prestonwood knew about it. JL confessed it to them. Why didn't they report it? By law they were required to do so. Why didn't they at least warn MHB before they hired him? Again, you'll have to ask them, but don't hold your breath waiting for a reply.

A survivor of abuse can give you a much better idea of the mindset involved and the reasons victims don't speak out immediately. Did you read David Brown's story? If you haven't, do. It's worth your time.

Rarely does a pedophile start and stop with one or two victims. Again I ask, how do you know there aren't more victims? How do you know there aren't recent victims? If Dallas victims or more recent victims come out I still don't think a lot of people will believe them.

Let's assume for a minute that JL is repentant and seeking to change his ways. (There's no evidence of that, but let's assume he is.) Then why in the world would he accept a job teaching children? That's like a recovering alcoholic taking a job as a bartender.

As for your example about smoking pot, I'm speechless. How does that in any way compare to molesting children? Even if it had come out that JL is "just" gay, as bad as that is, it doesn't compare to molesting children! (And not all men who molest boys are gay. It's usually about power, not sex.) You cannot assume that a pedophile has stopped molesting children.

Here's a better example. Let's say someone is caught embezzling money from a church and allowed to quietly resign and move on. Would you then want to hire him to be in charge of the finances at your church? Ever?

Sin, "moral failure," whatever you want to call it doesn't mean there can't be forgiveness (first comes repentance, and I haven't seen that yet), restoration to the body, etc., but there are consequences to everything. You molest a child even once, and you should not be allowed to be around children unsupervised again. Ever. That's not "making his name mud." That's using common sense and protecting everyone's children, including yours.

Again, I didn't go looking for this story. It came to me, and unlike the people in your town, I chose not to stick my head in the sand and ignore it. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing, and "good" men (and women) have done nothing for entirely too long! For heaven's sake, for your children's sakes, wake up and extract your head from wherever it's stuck!

professional said...

To Mom of 2,
Because you have not had any victims come forward in the last 20 years does not mean that they do not exist. I would LOVE to hear that John has NO MORE VICTIMS since Prestonwood. We know he had more than one victim prior to Prestonwood, and then again victims at Prestonwood.

I am curious to understand why you think he would just stop? As I am curious by everyone who makes this statement. Pedophilia is not a deviancy where someone just wakes up one morning and decides to molest...and they also do not wake up one morning and decide to stop. They need SERIOUS intervention, of which, John has not had. I have asked Greg Belser and John's attorney to please let me know what counseling, intervention, anything that John has had since Prestonwood, and no one can give me any.

Also, anyone who knows anything about any type of recovery at all, will know that you NEVER place yourself back into the one area that is your greatest temptation. John placed himself in EVERY area he could have possibly been in for temptations.

The only way to know if there have been any victims is to make this 100% public and allow all parents, over the last 10 years whose children have ever had any contact at all with speak to their children and come forward.

This has not happened. I worked with the Catholic church in dealing with some of the priest issues that they have had, and in one situation, there was molestation happening, with over 40 boys, for over 10 years...and NONE of them spoke out...until ONE VICTIM stepped forward...and then the floodgates opened.

I know how much you want to defend him. I know that we are working with past victims right now, but I can assure you ...this is harder on them than anyone.

You stated that the parents are the ones responsible...most of the parents did not even find out until John was gone, and at the point, no one knew where. (not so much internet access 23 years ago). I am quite confident that in the near future, past victims will get to say what they need to say.

The thing is...the two victims have already said it to the pastor and elders of Morrison Heights. They heard directly from two of the victims, which led to John not being there anymore. But...they have failed to tell the congregation that. They had a chance to be transparent, and were not.

KB said...

Protecting Our Children : a Southern Baptist Convention website special report on child sexual abuse: accepting the responsibility, embracing the privilege

KB said...

Statement in 2008 by then president of the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention Morris Chapman:

[We shall protect the weak and vulnerable.
We shall preserve the integrity of our witness.
We shall provide safe havens for our people.
We shall point out the inevitable consequence of sin.
We shall not allow predators to infiltrate our ministries.
We shall not allow uncertainty to hinder our strong rapid response.
We shall not allow fear of reprisal to stifle the stories of those who have been abused.
We owe our boys, girls, and women of our churches, every protection possible.
We owe them our prayers and loving care if they are victimized.

In American prisons, a sexual predator is considered the worst of the worst. We must determine that a sexual predator shall find no solace and no cover in our churches. We must never rid ourselves of the problem by pawning a sexual offender off upon an unsuspecting church where he will once again violate our children. It is a known fact that sexual predators are opportunistic and frequently migrate from one victim field to another.

We must adopt policies at local church levels to prevent first occurrences.

We must determine that when we know someone is a sexual predator we will expose him and bring charges against him for his crimes, whether he is the pastor, a member of the staff, or a member of the church. We cannot stand by and refuse to stand up against these vile criminals and allow them to practice their evil deeds.

In Matthew 18:6, Jesus spoke about those who might “cause a little one who believes in Me to stumble.” He said it would be better to have a millstone hung around their necks and be drowned in the depth of the ocean. Better than what? Better than what God would do to the person causing the damage.

God’s Word commands us not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph. 5:11, KJV). The word “reprove” means to “show, expose, rebuke, refute, convince, and convict.”]

professional said...

I need to make a statement to anyone reading my posts as a professional. I will again state my experience. I was a probation officer in Dallas, TX for 11 years, working with sexual offenders. I helped create the Sex Offender Unit in Dallas. I worked with professionals in every field...counseling, law enforcement, FBI, etc. I have been trained by all of the above. I devoted those ten years working with THOUSANDS of offenders. Since that time, I have devoted my time to working with churches, schools, day cares, etc...on protection of sexual offenders, how to integrate them into churches, and legal reporting aspects. I am very well trained to making the statements I am making.

I have never met John Langworthy. I would love to meet him and talk wtih him and have asked twice, but he has not been willing. I would love for him to tell me and show me why I should NOT think he has victims. I have encouraged him to be in counseling, take polygraphs, etc, to help begin healing. He will not respond and to my knowledge, has not done any length of counseling or anything.

I chose to work with sexual offenders because I want to protect children, and work with offenders. Not very many people in this world would choose that. There are things that offenders can do to lower their risk...unfortunately, I have not seen any of these factors in John's case.

I chose to work with churches, because they were the most likely to come to the defense of my clients. The offenders that I had would flock to churches, because the churches were the most likely to believe their stories, and let their guards down. I did an enormous amount of education for churches during my time with Dallas and chose to do this on my own after I left. It is a very high risk area for churches, and unfortunately, as we have area that most people do not want to address.

Unfortunately for churches, they tend to not report and just move the offender out,or not be honest with their congregation, or simply just cover it up, and more and more churches are at risk.

It has been said that there is NO WAY that Jack Graham, or Greg Belser, or Dr. Birchfield would have covered something like this up. Well, the fact is..they did. You can call it whatever you want, if "cover up" is too rough for you...but they all know what John has done, and they have chosen to "move him out" and state that he is leaving for some other reason than the truth. Actually, the truth is...John left MH due to "emotional reasons"..that is actually probably true. When you live with something like this for so long, the victims speak with your pastor and elders and you admit to will most likely have "emotional reasons' for leaving a church. But the church really needed to be honest, and so did John. That did not happen.

professional said...

Everyone can get upset with me, the blogger, other posts, the parents, etc...but in reality, the real tragedy here is that there are victims, ACTUAL victims, of John Langworthy whom I have spoken with at length...from more than one area of his life...and they have to live with John Langworthy's offense against them every single day of their lives...whether you believe them or not. They are hurt and broken. Some of them will never, ever speak out about it...some of them will. His family, I am quite sure, has been affected by all of this, and I am very sad for them.
The only person who really needs to be held accountable for any of this is John Langworthy himself. He created all of this, he made choices, and darkness is always brought to light. Sometimes right away, sometimes it takes 23 years...but God never allows darkness to be hidden forever. Healing needs to begin. Honesty needs to happen...and it needs to begin with John Langworthy. He needs to step up and do the right thing. He is not doing that. He is allowing this to happen. He has already admitted to his pastor and elders about the two victims who have spoken with the church. He needs to go further and begin healing for himself, his family, and his victims. When I see him do that, I will begin to believe that there is hope in this situation. He has left a destruction in his path and does not appear to want to make it right. I am very saddened by that.
I have never said that I believe John Langworthy is not a Christian, nor have I ever said he is a "bad person". He is probably a great person....but he is so deep in his sin and crimes, that he does not see a way out. There is a way out, unfortunately he would have to come to term with consequences of his behavior. It appears that he has placed himself above his victims, which still make him a risk.

That is what saddens me. The church body is affected by the choices of one man, and he has no intention of making it right.

Anonymous said...

It appears that Dr Belser and the elders learned of this in February 2011 and as of this date the church has still not been informed as to why JL resigned. Unacceptable to the members of MHBC, they deserve better from their leaders.

KB said...

Yes, they certainly do deserve the truth from their leadership and so do the parents of Clinton High School. Dr. Burchfield has known since my phone call on August 17, 2010, and he heard John's confession of the abuse in October. Sometime before that he confirmed in a call to Neal Jeffrey at Prestonwood Baptist in Dallas that John was indeed fired because of this abuse, which was not reported to the police. John was just told to get out of town. Most church members still do not know to this day why he was fired. Some victims have never told their parents. One victim was even sent to counseling by Prestonwood without notifying his parents of the abuse or counseling. In March I emailed Sandi Beason, director of communciations for Clinton schools, detailing the situation and that I had spoken with Dr. Burchfield in August, she replied:

How many people are you sending (rather, have you sent) this information to?

Sandi Beason
Public Information Officer
Clinton Public School District
(601) 924-7533

Realist said...

Everyone seems to be forgetting that firing people takes time. This entire situation is infuriating, but people can't be fired simply because someone who is, no doubt, a victim calls and accuses someone of molestation. Superintendents and pastors alike are burdened with filtering through accusations like these frequently and I compliment the fact that the leadership in these cases managed to get JL out of his positions of leadership without slander (legal slander, not simple disrespect). If they had done has many people on the site justifiably have suggested JL would have the right to sue both the school system and the church.

Obviously no one wants a pedophile to profit from his or her actions so keep this in mind as you continue to post. With all things considered the fact that he was removed from his posts as quickly and quietly as he was leaves the legal system ready to go after him, instead of JL going after the institutions.

Finally, while it may be difficult for some people to understand, Dr. Belser was not in a situation where he could simply stand at the pulpit and announce that a staff member is a pedophile. Slander and other harassment issues aside, this would have caused panic. Stories like this always have a way of coming out. Can any of you imagine sitting in church with your children who have been under the guidance of a certain staff member and then it being explained in front of them, from a pulpit no less, that he molested children and teens? I surely can't.

No one is perfect and I am sure that from the people in Dallas to the people in Clinton there are many things that could have been different. But try and remember that we do work under a legal system that gives even pedophiles rights.

Anonymous said...

Realist is entirely wrong. Why not put JL on paid leave until you get to the bottom of the situation. Hiding the truth from the church is unacceptable, you seem to forget that we are talking about crimes against children. Yes, Belser and the Elders have alot of explaining to do. Remember it was February when they were contacted. I would be more afraid of being sued by one of the victims/families if I was them.

New BBC Open Forum said...

It takes a year to "filter" everything? Burchfield has reportedly known about the accusations for a year. He reportedly heard it straight from the horse's (JL's) mouth in October. An entire school year and summer have now passed, and if it were not for pressure from out-of-state sources, I've no doubt JL would still be at CHS when school begins later this month.

As for the church, it would have been a simple matter for them to have a separate children's service one week (if they don't already) and then to ask visitors and anyone with children to leave before making the announcement. That's how the PW "moral failure" was announced at Bellevue. A lot more could and should have been said, but at least they didn't totally whitewash it as "mental and emotional reasons." For a "realist" you didn't think that one through very well.

You are correct that organizations have to be careful to have their ducks in a row before taking public action since in our litigious society the perpetrators are sometimes able to turn the tables on them. But in this case, what took so long? The fact remains the school knew for a year and did nothing. If they needed more information before firing him, put him on paid leave until things are sorted out, but from all indications they had all the information ages ago. You don't leave a confessed pedophile around children for even a day!

Ask Steve Gaines how that worked out for him. Letting a confessed pedophile roam the halls of the church for 6 months without telling anyone or firing him (plus all SG's other blunders) resulted in a mass exodus of members who took their money with them. I just pray his inaction didn't result in more victims, but I've never thought PW started and stopped with one victim and will not be surprised if more victims are eventually discovered. The church hasn't recovered yet; hence, SG is still accusing people of "living in stolen houses, driving stolen cars, etc." because he doesn't think they're forking over enough money to support his and his family's self-entitled lifestyles and all the palm-greasing church "projects" being doled out to Steve's cronies.

But I digress. Burchfield knew for a whole year, and the fact remains that JL was allowed to continue in a job working with children! Am I being unrealistic when I point out that this is just wrong?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 3:43,

We cross-posted. Glad to see someone else gets it.

Just another poster said...

It is easy to armchair quarterback a situation like this and make assumptions based on what we think the response would be were we in the situation of leadership having to deal with something like this. Let me preface by saying that this should have been dealt with years ago, but the fact of the matter is it wasn't. When the situation recently came to light, there was still a responsibility to the rest of the members in the church. I'm not saying that I would make the perfect decision, but I would much rather have a ready, aim, fire mentality than a ready, fire, and aim mentality and make decisions that were best for the church family as a whole. Not ignoring the situation, but exercising wisdom regarding how to manage a situation like that.

The reality is that I've read nothing to indicate that the situation was going to be swept under the rug, but rather the first priority was to get JL out of the role in the church, and then to take appropriate courses of action. Regardless of how much we despise a situation, (and this one turns my stomach), the topic of slander is a credible concern unfortunately in this situation. Therefore, leaders must be careful how they proceed. I'm in no way attributing perfection, or efficiency, but I doubt that the outcome of the current issue will be the moral reprieve that we saw years ago.

Realist said...

Bellvue, from my understanding, had people in the church who had already come forward and made accusations and had to deal with the issue in an in-your-face manner.

Everything that MHBC is dealing with is legal hearsay. Again, your refutes fail to address the legal issues at hand.

As far as the suggested timeline on these issues, none of us actually know the true timeline of events. Anything supposedly posted from emails may or may not be accurate. There are only a few people with that information. However I do know that CPS is a respected school district and one of only three star school districts in the state of Mississippi. You don't get that sort of accreditation covering up for pedophiles.

Again, as a realist attempting to react as unemotionally as possible consider the legal issues at hand and the likelihood that what is being reported on this blog may or may not be accurate. Where is the proof? The hard evidence? I believe it exists, but most likely not on this site. Dr. Belser came to MHBC a little over 7 years ago and JL was already on staff. The real fault of this situation lies in Dallas, at Prestonwood.

One thing is certain, had this situation been properly handled then, JL would have never been hired at MHBC or CPS and all of this would be a moot issue. Quit blaming the wrong parties for the cover-up. If anything CPS and MHBC have been trying to uncover a well hidden past. Who is to blame for that?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Someone just reminded me I neglected to mention the obvious, and that is that we live under a legal system that requires reporting any suspicion of abuse to the proper authorities. Churches, schools, and other organizations don't get to do their own investigations.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Actually the Bellevue situation was very similar to this one. Staff members and others knew for several years but failed to report the abuse to the proper authorities. There is no evidence Adrian Rogers knew, but he's not here to ask or to defend himself, so we simply don't know.

Steve Gaines allegedly learned of it around June 2006. It wasn't until the victim's friends reportedly applied pressure that something was finally done six months later. Even then someone outside the church reported it to DCS/CPS. If it had not been for the story being leaked to parties outside the church I believe PW would still be on staff at Bellevue today. I believe the internal investigation by the church was a delay tactic so they could figure out how to handle the situation with as little collateral damage as possible (i.e. the church's bank account, insurance, reputation, SG's job). And probably, in part, to keep PW from turning the tables on them as you mentioned earlier. The D.A.'s office reportedly expressed frustration at one point over the lack of cooperation from the church.

In both these cases the perpetrator confessed to his past crimes, was allowed to keep his job until enough external pressure was applied, and no one was warned about him. Not then; not now. That's called "sweeping it under the rug" in these parts. I don't know what you call it where you live. Run a background check on either of them today, and you won't find either of them listed on any sex offender registry. So I guess some of you would have no problem inviting one of them to babysit your little boys? Surely they're rehabilitated by now, right?

I see little difference in the two cases. Yes, the people who knew about these men's abuses years ago should have spoken out. For whatever reason(s) they didn't. Officials at Prestonwood had a legal and moral obligation to report JL to law enforcement and warn people about him. Officials at Bellevue who knew had a legal and moral obligation to report PW to law enforcement and warn people about him. They had the same obligations to report the former staffer I'm just now learning about, too. Yet they failed to do anything, and in the latter case there have reportedly been subsequent victims.

Pointing a finger at someone else and saying, "They should have done something," doesn't absolve anyone in Clinton from the duty they had to report the situation as soon as they learned of it. Neither did it absolve anyone at Bellevue from reporting what they knew about PW and this other guy when they knew it.

Sadly, I predict an outcome similar to this one in JL's case. There will always be another church, another school, another day. Another child. I hope I'm wrong.

David said...

To all those so concerned about slander and being sued by a pedophile; I have yet to see either an admitted, creditably accused or convicted pedophile ever sue anyone. Quite the contrary they would just prefer all would go away and shut up. The very last thing they want is the publicity of a lawsuit or trial.

David Brown

Anonymous said...

To "Realist"; I'm a late-comer to this conversation although I've been reading almost since the inception of the JL situation. Would you care to define "legal hearsay"? Hearsay is not admissible in courts of law. How can there be such a thing as legal hearsay? JUST ME

professional said...

to Realist,
I am actually trying to wrap my head around what you are trying to convey. Are you trying to convey that Prestonwood is to blame? Are you trying to convey that Morrison Heights did the right thing? Are you saying this is not truth?

I will address a few of your issues quickly...
1) John Langworthy is not, and has never, had any intention of suing anyone, and would not matter how it was handled. He knows this is truth and suing would just ensue more media, legal ramifications and he will not do that. David's post was absolute truth about this issue. I agree!!

2) you are right, Prestonwood did the wrong thing! They should have reported and if they had, we would not be here today. To go even further back...if JOHN LANGWORTHY HAD NOT MOLESTED...we would not be here either.

3) Morrison Heights and the high school did not handle this in a quick and timely manner. One year is way too long to let a known offender of children remain around children! Unacceptable.

4) Greg Belser did not have to stand up and state that John is a pedophile on a sunday morning service. He could have, and was encouraged, to have a meeting of a time and place and state that anyone who wanted to know about his leaving could come and the truth would be released, and that it would not be appropriate for children. Instead....they let him resign for "emotional reasons" and held a going away reception in his honor. Is that appropriate for this situation??

5) Stating that a school of this reputation would never let anything like this happen....well, they knew about his molestation, spoke with prestonwood about it, spoke with victims.....and still let him take his choir to New Orleans...claiming to us that he was being "watched". Was that appropriate? They knew he had molested children....but....he deserves this trip. It's all about John, isn't it?

professional said...

6) You state that no one really knows the timelines in this situation. Well, I DO. I have been involved since day one! I have spoken on a weekly or bi weekly basis with someone regarding all of this for over a year now. I can give you a run down in detail of the entire timeline if that is really the issue here,, but I am convinced that it is not. The fact is, everyone has known about this for over a year now...and all parties involved have spoken both with Prestonwood and victims of John Langworthy.

Over and over, people keep posting about the churches and school and parents and the blogger and other comments....and blaming all of these different people, depending on their viewpoints...when in reality...the only person here to blame is JOHN LANGWORTHY>

I am going to say this with as much emphasis as I can...JOHN LANGWORTHY IS NOT THE VICTIM IN THIS SITUATION!!! He knows what he has done. He knows how many victims there are. He knows everything. He is the one who needs to step up and do the right thing. John Langworthy can put this all to rest. John Langworthy needs to come clean, accept the consequences of his behaviors (of which he has never had in 30 years, except loss of jobs) and do the RIGHT THING!! Is he? Of course not.
He is allowing destruction to continue to happen as he moves on. He is allowing others to be blamed for his actions.

We will continue to have posts on here of people supporting him, blaming us, blaming each other, blaming someone...because in one wants to think that someone that they have known and loved for so long, and allowed their children to be around, could be capable of anything such as this. Surely someone else must be to blame. And as everyone continues to blame...John Langworthy will move another town, another job, another area. He has been successful for 30 years...why should he stop now?

If John Langworthy wants me to believe that the information I have, the victims I have spoken with, the churches I have dealt with are all lies...then he needs to call me. I have asked to speak with him before and received nothing. He knows how to get in touch with me. If you are upset about this and know John Langworthy, then talk to him. Tell him to call me and set the record straight! I would love to have the chance to just talk to him. I want him to explain to me why these victims are all lying about him. Why they still have issues just hearing his name. Explain this to me.

As a matter of fact, how many of these defenders have actually spoken to John about this? Who has asked him about this? I would be curious to hear what he has to say. AGAIN, ONLY JOHN LANGWORTHY CAN MAKE THIS RIGHT. He has the opportunity to do the right thing and accept whatever consequences that means. Will he???

VeryConcernedParent said...

We moved into Clinton a few years ago and I had two boys and a daughter in JL's programs since. Does anybody know the ages of the victims in the Dallas case JL admitted to?

Realist said...

Realist: a person concerned with fact or reality that rejects the impractical and visionary
--Taken From Merriam-Webster Online

For all who read my posts keep this in mind while you read. I am doing my best to be as objective and realistic about this situation as possible.

1. Thank you New BBC for clearing up the situation about Bellevue for me. What you said makes a great deal of sense. However, I would like to point out again that no one but those who have reported things to the authorities know the contents of the reports. Likewise only the authorities know the REAL, TRUE evidence on this case, guilty or not.

2. David Brown-- JL is not at this point a convicted pedophile in the courts of law. That means that everything that you just wrote doesn't matter and only holds true if he is convicted of pedophilia. I don't mean to be harsh, but that is the reality of the situation.

3. Anon 5:54--I honestly can't believe you took the space to ask this question. The reason I put "legal" in front of hearsay was to make sure that everyone knew I was talking about the legal definition of hearsay and not the colloquial use of hearsay.

4. Professional--where to begin?
a. Obviously the fault lies in the one who committed the crimes, but no one except JL knows the truth about this. The fact that Prestonwood had the chance to act and didn't, puts them at fault 20 years before MHBC and CPS.
b. Yes, I do trust that MHBC and CPS have acted appropriately.
c. As a realist in this conversation I will not assert whether or not the accusations are true against JL, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that not everything in this plethora of posts is 100% fact.
d. What is quick and timely? Are you at all familiar with the court systems and the legal process? I know it is not fun to think about, but cases take a lot of time and a lot of work and a lot of evidence. You can't pull and Beauty and the Beast and grab pitchforks and torches and hunt people down because you think you know the truth.
e. Whether you or anyone else likes it or not JL has had a positive impact on many, many lives. So even though you are quick to accept the information that has surfaced surely you are not naive enough to think that everyone will share your point of view about what you assert. Like it or not, innocent until proven guilty.
f. I keep explaining the process of discovery and collecting evidence takes time so it should by now make sense that Dr. Belser can't just sit around and accuse people of being a pedophile unless a case has been brought against JL. If he did he would be legally susceptible to being sued and no one knows whether or not JL would sue except him, so lets not assume that.
g. You say you have been involved in this since day one, I guess this means you were involved with JL at Prestonwood? Because if this it not the case than you don't know everything, and it is an insult to those who may have been harmed by JL during his time at Prestonwood and since.
h. If you are correct and JL is convicted of being a pedophile, or if he has done these things and the legal process hasn't uncovered it yet, it is in his control to let the truth be known. But don't be so proud to forget that you could still be wrong.

New BBC Open Forum said...

What is quick and timely? Are you at all familiar with the court systems and the legal process? I know it is not fun to think about, but cases take a lot of time and a lot of work and a lot of evidence.

Did the school know something last week that they didn't know almost a year ago? Did the church know something last month they didn't know in February 2011? Is there actually a pending legal case? I'm just trying to understand why the process took so long.

Realist said...

Are you asking about the process of removing JL from his posts? Or why a legal process takes a long time?

Really both go hand-in-hand. You stated earlier that CPS and MHBC had to get their ducks in a row. I am not so sure that the authorities haven't been involved since Feburary 2011 (which was only 5 months ago from now) if not before. There is just no way of being certain. If it is true that the first time CPS and MHBC heard about this was in Feb 2011 then the fact that he was out of the school's my May (2 1/2 months later) and out of the church in no more than 4 (I think it was June, could be wrong) means the process went very fast by legal standards. To those with children involved this seems like an eternity, but not in the world of law.

As far as building a case of this sort it takes lots of time and background work before a warrant can be issued and charges even be made. To my knowledge this has not happened, which is again why JL left his posts the way he did. Without this sort of impending legal suit everyone trying to remove him from his posts is at risk of being accused of slander.

Does that make sense?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Not really, but thanks for trying.

professional said...

Reality is, when he was approached by Dr. Belser about the two victims, he admitted to them.

Reality is, I have not received any feedback from his attorney or any legal authority stating that this is slander. As far as your comment about Dr. Belser sitting around and accusing someone...I am not even sure what you are talking about. Dr. Belser heard from victims, asked John about it and John admitted to them. What were you trying to address here? There was no process of discovery or evidence gathering. IT was very simple.

I am fully aware of the legal system, have worked in it for 10 years.
Don't tell me what I can and cannot do regarding victims. I have been in this field for a long time, I am fully aware of what I can and cannot do.

Explaining the process of discovery and evidence gathering....let's address that. You seem to be addressing this a lot. Legal process, evidence gathering...none of this is the responsibility or authority of the church That is the job of law enforcement. When again were they brought in to gather and collect evidence?

Naive and! You went for the big words didn't you!
Not proud, truth. I know the truth. Big difference. And regarding the fact that he has victims...I am not wrong. He has even already admitted to them. Did you miss that somewhere?

Sure, John has helped a lot of people. I have absolutely no doubt that he has. He is a great guy, so I hear. So were many many other offenders that I dealt with who were pastors and youth ministers.. That means nothing to me. That does not change the fact that he has victims, at all.

I was never in disagreement with you about Prestonwood. They should have reported. Simple fact.

and yes, more people than just John Langworthy know about this...his victims know.

It is apparent that you have somehow missed parts of this entire situation. I am not going to defend any of this anymore to you. You will believe what you want and you have every right to do that. That is your choice.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Realist is more concerned with saving the jobs of Dr Belser and the elders than he is with the victims. Could Realist be a Church elder? A lawyer seeking a case? Makes no difference, the church and the school district handled this in an inappropriate manner and if you dont believe it just ask any parent.

John Richardson said...

For anyone in the Clinton area, who is not actively in church and would like someone to pray for you as you work through this issue, please contact me. I do not have first-hand information and certainly cannot fix this situation, but I would be happy to look for God's perspective on this with you. And finally if you just need a safe place to vent about ministers (of which I am one), you can also do that without fear of offending me or being mocked. I am hurting with you. So, if you want prayer, you can email me at

professional said...

to very concerned parent,
the victims that I know of ranged from late elementary school to early high school, remember, these were from different times frames in his life, not all in Dallas. I have no idea about the victims that I am unaware of.

professional said...

to John Richardson,
Thank you. I hope that people reading this or who have concerns will take you up on this. They do need to pray through this, receive healing and understanding and have someone local to be able to process with. Thank you for your time and willingness to do this and to be there for the people in Clinton.

David said...

John thanks so much for stepping up an offering a tender, compassionate hand. It is much needed. I have been contacted by quite a few people in the Jackson/Clinton area with their concerns. One of the resources I have given them was your name and the name of your church. God bless you my brother, you are in our prayers.


David said...

Dear Realist: Really? Normally I chose to ignore responses like your last one. You are certainly entitled to your thoughts and opinions and I respect that. But when you come on trying to appear “attorney-like” like and making statements and dismissals as you have, well......

As someone that has worked in the legal profession for over 27 years now, doing both plaintiff and defense work (the last 9 I have been doing insurance defense litigation and no I am not an attorney) I have to really question who is being a realist. Anyone that is in the legal profession knows that words mean everything. Remember the Clinton debate over the meaning of a word? Any legal professional when responding to a statement, complaint, motion etc., reads the entire statement in clarity without bias. You have done neither.

You seemed to ignore the first two classes of pedophiles, let me quote you again what I wrote: “I have yet to see either an admitted, creditably accused or convicted pedophile ever sue anyone.” You leaped over the words “admitted” and “creditably accused” and jumped to convicted pedophile to apply to my comments. Please if you are going to dismiss my comments do it correctly. I would dare argue with you that according to what has been published in this column our subject certainly fits either one of the first two classes. And the rest of your entire argument is based on convicting someone. I find it very rare that anyone is convicted of being a pedophile due to very outdated statute of limitations and pedophiles thrive because of that. Do I think for one second that the subject of these discussions will ever be convicted? Don’t hold your breath.

As far as any “internal” investigation having to be completed before taking action; you must be kidding. Let’s say for example some minister on staff comes to you and admits they sexually abused children, regardless of when it was. What are you going to do? An investigation? No you relieve them immediately. Or if in doubt just ask your wife or other parents. You can do it either with or without pay; but you remove that threat to children immediately. Nothing less is sufficient. That is the sole reason for speaking out as we have; protecting children. If this subject was doing anything else but working with children, taking them on trips out of town I suggest probably nothing would have been said but sadly that is not the case.

In closing I do respect your opinions but you crossed the line when you did not respect mine and others. You can continue to defend this person. Oh how I wish these thing weren’t true. Before you write another word I challenge you as others have to ask those mentioned here what is the truth. Have you done that yet? Maybe just maybe then you might change your id.


Anonymous said...

What is going on at Bellevue this week? I've never seen this many people at Bellevue since Dr. Rogers was there.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Shelby County Schools teacher in-service meeting. It's an annual tradition now. They'll have one for Memphis City School teachers, too.

sick77 said...

Protecting "Dr Greg Belser's" job...protecting the "Elders" jobs???
Are You kidding me?? They are very guilty of covering up, sweeping it under the rug. Greg Belser should resign himself.

CarolAnne said...

I know this is off the subject, but here goes. Does no one think it strange that Steve hardly ever preaches anymore, not even on Sunday. He does not preach at all on Wednesday. I can remember Bro. Adrian going to a funeral and flying back for the Wednesday night worship. Also, how many weeks vacation does Steve get; he was just gone on a luxurious 3 week 'journeys of Paul', came back for two weeks and was gone again on another vacation. He even makes money while he is gone by preaching somewhere for an hour and then the rest of the time is church expense. It apprears all the employees, deacons, etc. are afraid of him, esp. after the firing of Jamie Parker. Also, did he fire Carolyn Higginbotham, the prayer lady?

KB said...

SNAP press statement today:

Victims respond to Asheville priest plea in sex case

A Charlotte diocesan priest, Father John Schneider of Asheville, has pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. He was charged in 2009 for deleting child pornography from the computer of his music minister, who is now serving a 15 year federal sentence for child sex crimes.
We're glad there's now no doubt that this cleric concealed child sex crimes.
Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in North Carolina will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.
If you have knowledge or suspicions - however old, small or seemingly insignificant - about clergy sex crimes, it's your moral and civic duty to call police. Please summon the courage to do what's right, call law enforcement and hopefully prevent more devastated lives.

Barbara Dorris
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

New BBC Open Forum said...

Does no one think it strange that Steve hardly ever preaches anymore, not even on Sunday.

He's gone a lot during the week, but I think "hardly ever preaches" is an exaggeration, at least if you go back over the past year and just look at Sundays. (I will say that for someone who claims to ♥ Memphis so much, it's always struck me how he and Donna seem to get out of Memphis every chance they get.)

In the past year he's preached 41 out of 52 Sundays. He was out 3 weeks between 12-19-10 and 1-2-11 recovering from knee-replacement surgery. Then he was out once in mid-March when they were visiting Grant and his fam in Indiana (Steve preached at Grant's church that Sunday), the last Sunday in May and first Sunday in June when he was on his "Journeys of Paul" trip (read this to get an idea of how these things work), and the past two Sundays (7-24 and 7-31) when he was on vacation.

While on vacation he preached at FBC Woodstock (Johnny Hunt) three times on 7-31, and Donna spoke to the women that afternoon. Then he preached at FBC Atlanta (Charles Stanley) last night. All were recycled sermons from recent weeks at Bellevue.

He does not preach at all on Wednesday.

Well, he's explained why he doesn't preach on Wednesday nights.

Then the short-lived "communication committee" tried to explain for him:

Why doesn't Dr. Gaines preach on Wednesday nights?

Because our congregation is quite large, Dr. Gaines has chosen Wednesday nights to attend committee meetings, meet various church groups, and attend a variety of church events in order to meet as many people as possible. Dr. Gaines also encourages us to hold all committee meetings on Wednesdays and Sundays to allow members to spend more time during the week with their families. Does Dr. Gaines preach any other time besides Sunday? Yes. Currently, he preaches to men at Morning Manna, Thursdays at 6:30 a.m., and to 18-29-year-olds at i2 Memphis, Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.

He did preach on Wednesday nights for a short time in the past year, but that didn't last long.

Also, how many weeks vacation does Steve get; he was just gone on a luxurious 3 week 'journeys of Paul', came back for two weeks and was gone again on another vacation. He even makes money while he is gone by preaching somewhere for an hour and then the rest of the time is church expense.

A lot apparently. Not counting the 3 Sundays he was out recovering from surgery, he was out 8 other Sundays in the past year. The "Journeys of Paul" trip was closer to 2 weeks, May 25th to June 17th (plus travel days).

He spoke at the Alabama State Evangelism Conference (along with 4 other BBC staffers including Coombs, Marcum, Quinn, and Tucker) earlier this year.

There have been trips to Alabama, Florida, I♥NY, Indiana, Jackson, and several days in Heber Springs the week of July 4th, and those are just what I can think of off the top of my head.

It's funny you used the word "luxurious" because that's how the accommodations on the upcoming Holy Land trip are described!

Also, did he fire Carolyn Higginbotham, the prayer lady?

I don't know. She's well into her 70s and will probably retire before long. I guess your question is whether her departure was (if it happened) or will be (if it hasn't) on her timetable or someone else's. More than one staff member was reportedly "asked to retire" in recent months.

New BBC Open Forum said...

For anyone interested in Bellevue-related news, there's a new post here.

Because of the serious nature of the subject matter and for the convenience of our Mississippi guests, I'm leaving this story at the top of the front page for a while longer.

bad dream said...

Is John Langworthy still attending Morrison Heights?

Does his wife still work there?

New BBC Open Forum said...

The "Journeys of Paul" trip was closer to 2 weeks, May 25th to June 17th (plus travel days).

Oops, that was a typo. That should have been May 25th to June 7th, not 17th.

KB said...

Yes, John's wife Kathy Langworthy still works at Morrison Heights on the Music and Worship Staff as Music Assistant and Music Office Coordinator. I have heard that John is still attending Morrison Heights. He was given a reception of appreciation on June 5, 2011 at Morrison Heights Baptist Church a week after his resignation, which was forced, after Greg Belser and elders heard from a second victim in which the abuse occurred before John moved to Dallas. Before hearing from this victim, Greg Belser and the elders called to inform me on April 11, 2011 that they had completed their own "due diligence", which they launched after hearing from another victim, and had concluded to keep John on staff. I have urged Greg Belser to report the knowledge of and confession of the sexual assault of a child to law enforcement authorities in Mississippi.

professional said...

to bad dream,
to my knowledge, the answer is yes to both of your questions. I believe she is still on staff...and I believe that he is still attending church there.

KB said...

D.A.’s investigation of clerical sexual abuse in Philadelphia

The testimony before a grand jury in 2003 and 2004 of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, during the D.A.’s investigation of clerical sexual abuse:

[Bevilacqua’s testimony is telling. At one point over many hours and many days, assistant D.A. Charlie Gallagher asked the Cardinal several times why–when a priest who had sexually abused a parishioner was removed–Bevilacqua did not inform that parish as to why their spiritual leader was gone.

Charlie Gallagher: “Don’t you think it would have been advisable to do that, to find out if he had abused anyone else?”

Cardinal Bevilacqua: “I repeat what I said before–we did not see it was necessary because no one was held back from reporting it.”

Gallagher: “Weren’t you concerned about whether or not there were other victims in that parish?”

Bevilacqua: “Oh, I’d be concerned about any victim, but there’s–if they wanted to come to us, they could have come anytime.”

Gallagher: “So you left it all up to these innocent children to come forward and make these claims; is that correct?”

Bevilacqua: “Their families. I don’t see–there was no restriction on anybody. They could come any time at all.”

Gallagher: “I’m not questioning the restriction … put upon the other parishioners. All I’m asking is: Don’t you think it would have been wise to go back to that parish to find out if there were other victims in that parish?”

Bevilacqua: “No, I didn’t think it was necessary, and I don’t see why we had to do that.”

That exchange, of course, is only the tip of the iceberg. We now know the story, of how the Church protected priests who raped children by moving them around to other parishes, where they went on their merry way raping more children. But I cite the above because of Bevilacqua’s chilling tone, and how it nails his monumentally skewed priorities.]

Christa Brown said...

Responding to some of the above comments (part 1):

For those wondering why it is so difficult to get media attention for this . . . reporters (and their bosses) generally look to three main sources of confirmation: 1) a public arrest record or criminal prosecution, 2) civil lawsuit filings, and 3) records from or confirmation of an ecclesiastical or denominational review process. I call it a “three-legged stool” and explained it in more detail here.

Since Southern Baptists don’t have any denominational process for assessing clergy abuse reports, the third leg of the stool is totally missing. The lack of any denominational review process or record-keeping on clergy also helps to make the civil litigation leg into only about half a leg. So, it is the very fact that Southern Baptists lack a denominational system for dealing with clergy abuse that, in large measure, helps to protect them from public scrutiny. If you don’t even have a system, you won’t have a failure of the system. Of course, the lack of any denominational system may help to protect denominational entities, but it sure doesn’t protect kids.

JL is not the “only person to blame” here. Blame should also be placed on the other Baptist leaders who knew about the prior accusations against JL and who allowed him to simply move on. Based on the reports and comments here, that includes officials at one of the most prominent churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and its senior pastor, who is a former SBC president. Blame should also be placed on denominational officials who have refused to implement denominational safeguards such as those that exist in other major faith groups. Those systems often fail, but when no denominational system even exists (as with Baptists), failure is practically guaranteed. It is a mistake to view these cases as isolated incidents or as being only about “bad apples.” Church-hopping predators are a systemic problem within the SBC, and a systemic problem must be addressed in a systemic manner.

As for Morris Chapman’s words and that 2008 glossy brochure called “Protecting Our Children”? They were nothing more than that – i.e., just words. The Associated Press saw through it. The lead-line of the AP's 2008 story on this: “Under pressure to fight child sex abuse, the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee said Tuesday that the denomination should not create its own database to help churches identify predators or establish an office to field abuse claims.”
Chapman’s words and the glossy brochure amounted to little more than preaching – I guess that’s what Baptist officials are good at -- but they rejected the implementation of deeds that would have actually made a difference.

If Southern Baptist officials cared about “protecting our children,” they would institute a denominational system for the responsible and objective assessment of clergy abuse reports (i.e., for those cases that cannot be criminally prosecuted, which is most), and for keeping records on credibly-accused clergy so that they cannot so easily church-hop. They would institute a denominational system by which the SBC’s 45,000 churches could safely share information about ministers who have been credibly-accused but who have not been criminally convicted. (Besides, if SBC churches can have a cooperative system that allows them to better provide for ministers’ retirements, why can’t they have a cooperative system that allows them to better protect kids against church-hopping clergy-predators?)

Worst of all . . . Southern Baptist officials claim that it is because of their religion that they cannot implement the sorts of denominational systems that other major faith groups have. It’s a shame of a sham and it amounts to such a twisted misuse of religion that all Southern Baptists should be ashamed.

Christa Brown said...

Responding to some of the above comments (part 2):

Lawsuit threats are a common tactic for silencing people, and yes, Baptist officials sometimes use that tactic against clergy sex abuse survivors. When I tried to get something done about the minister who molested and raped me as a kid, the church’s first response was to threaten to sue me (despite the fact that another minister knew about the abuse). They did so using the long-time attorney for the Baptist General Convention of Texas. I cannot begin to tell you the sort of pain this caused me. It was plenty bad enough to deal with the psychological reprocessing of the abuse, assaults and rape that were inflicted on me as kid, and the memories of the other church leaders who had silenced me and covered it up, but to deal with all that in conjunction with the church threatening to sue me was pretty daunting. The church had a ready source of funds with offering plate dollars, and it had the assistance of the largest state-wide Baptist organization in the country. (This is how some denominational entities “help” the churches in dealing with clergy sex abuse – by referring the churches to their own attorneys even while knowing that the way those attorneys “help” is by threatening the victims.) You can read more about my case, and also see 285 footnotes’ worth of documentation about the widespread pattern of Southern Baptist clergy abuse cover-ups (news articles, legal documents, and letters) in my book called “This Little Light: Beyond a Baptist Preacher Predator and His Gang.”

Not only was I myself threatened, but the perpetrator threatened to sue the Orlando Sentinel newspaper when it was on the verge of reporting about the abuse accusations. Fortunately, "ignoring the threat of a lawsuit," the Orlando Sentinel published his name, and only then, was he finally made to resign from his position of trust as a Baptist minister.

Another tactic is for churches to use “hush money.” They throw a few thousand dollars at a victim for counseling, and in exchange, extract an agreement that the victim will not talk about it with anyone other than his counselor. Then, when the victim has had enough counseling to be stronger and understand things better, the victim is afraid to speak out at that point for fear that he’ll be sued for violation of the signed agreement. (These sorts of agreements are almost never actually sued on, but that reality seldom erases the victims’ fear. It's a shameful silencing tactic, but it usually works.)

The local churches are also afraid of being sued. In a recent case involving a Southern Baptist minister who was on trial for murder, it came out that he had a string of sexual abuse and assault accusations in Baptist churches. Yet, even with accusations involving minors, no one had done anything except to let him move on. I heard from people who told me that he had threatened to sue the churches he left if they divulged the accusations to other churches. So the churches kept quiet. It took a murder for people to finally find out about the earlier sexual abuse and assault reports.

Local churches cannot responsibly deal with this on their own. They need a denominational system to facilitate their sharing of information about clergy and to provide abuse survivors with a safe place to which they may report abuse with a reasonable expectation of being objectively heard. (I’m talking about cases that cannot be criminally prosecuted, which is most of them.)

No one should believe that Southern Baptists will be able to prevent the clergy child molesters they don’t yet know about when they have no system for doing anything at all about the clergy child molesters they’re specifically told about . . . or for doing anything at all about the many other Baptist ministers who have been complicit in hushing things up.


I live in Clinton and am very sad (but not surprised) at how MHBC and CPS have responded. I love Clinton but I know how we like to pretend we are the "perfect" town...
For all that are more concerned with JL shame on you!!! I hate to say it but there are probably victims in Clinton and we need to try and find them so they can receive help. As someone who is a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I am sick at my stomach that people don't want to know the truth. JL is not the victim. He chose to work with children and youth. He brought this on himself.
MHBC is not doing what God wants...the TRUTH. God is for truth.
I beg the people who really know the truth to make sure it is out. Don't stop. Make it public. I can assure you that MHBC and CPS will not unless they are forced!!
Praying for truth and healing.

New BBC Open Forum said...

To the "local pastor" who tried to post a comment around 11:00 last night, I chose not to publish your comment, not because I don't believe you but because I don't want the focus of this thread to go off topic. It's true that when a church is handling one thing this badly, they are likely mishandling other things.

I discovered last night there's a Memphis connection to MHBC. If you have any more information I would appreciate it if you would PM me at the e-mail address in my profile. You may remain anonymous.

Anonymous said...

When did Langworthy start at Morrison Hts?

Angela said...

I have refrained from commenting for some time now, because I just couldn't calm myself down enough to write a response to some of these posts that would be appropriate for a blog site. Having been abused as a child myself, I feel I'm entitled to a little "righteous anger" in this bear with me.

Honestly, when I read comments arguing in support of JL or PW, or admonishing others to be "realistic", my first thought is to urge those people to sit down, close their eyes, and IN GRAPHIC DETAIL--imagine what JL has done to these children. Also, to remind them that HE ADMITTED IT!!! It's NOT hearsay!! It's not gossip! It's not a vicious rumor, deliberately put out there to slander and destroy a wonderful, INNOCENT person's life. HE SEXUALLY ABUSED CHILDREN!

"Deciding" to sexually violate the body of a frightened, helpless child is not the same as deciding to smoke pot or have a drink. What type of heart and mind must a person have to engage in sexual activity with a CHILD??? Do you REALLY think that's something that they will "mature" out of--either physiologically or spiritually? Seriously??

Having said that, it doesn't surprise me anymore the way secular society deals with these crimes, but the church........

The most heartbreaking and disturbing thought I've had lately is....When did "the church" stop being the BODY OF CHRIST and become a corporate entity run by CEOs and lawyers that is more concerned about lawsuits and liabilities than dealing with SIN and doing what is RIGHT and PLEASING to GOD?????????

Do they not put their faith and trust in a God who will go before them in doing HIS will--which is what they preach from the pulpit when they admonish us to place our tithes and offerings in the plate?? It just says to me that all of their "preaching" on Sunday mornings really just adds up to a bunch of "words" that "Christians" are supposed to say---but they are empty,meaningless, powerless words. When the rubber hits the road, these "pastors" are just company presidents, financial officers, and motivational speakers.

If someone hurt or abused my child in any way, I wouldn't care if I stood to loose everything--I would protect my child and do all in my power to bring that person to justice--because, that would be the RIGHT thing to do. Period. "Christianity" aside, it would be the moral, kind, loving, protecting, just thing to do. You can sue me, arrest me, throw me in jail...but I won't go quietly, demurely--making sure that I've been polite and covered all of my legal bases. I'll go shouting the name of the abuser to anyone will listen and warning all parents to protect their precious children.

And as far as these churches go--the abuser may be able to sue you, bankrupt you, take your buildings and tour buses, but they can't remove the LIVING GOD from the heart of a true Christian. You can have "church" in homes, the local YMCA, or out in a field. Granted, you may not be able to live in $500,000.00 homes, have the church foot the bill for sending your children to the best private schools, or go for walks in the "footsteps" of Paul, but you can preach the WORD and Shepherd the people that God brings to you--anywhere.

Ok, I have to stop.

Anonymous said...

In '89

New BBC Open Forum said...

In '89

Wow, 22 years, huh?

What years was Hal Kitchings there? I think he left there in 2002, but I don't know how long he was there.

Anonymous said...

Many of us in Clinton, MS have been far too willing to sit back and hide behind our "perfect community" facade. This has gone on far too long and I am just as guilty as anyone else!! I AM OFFICIALLY OVER IT!! I know JL personally and know MANY children that have been under his care in school and in church. It's time that we STOP blaming CPSD or MHBC for the way they have handled or mishandled the situation - this is about John! These are his crimes - YES CRIMES! I agree - God is all about the truth. I pray that this man will face what he has done and get help. I am in prayer for his family and for the many children that have loved him in our community - but especially for his victims.

Heartsick said...

For those of you who feel compulsion over this, and want to drag our pastor and church down, we would just like to encourage you to stop and pray that God's will would win out and that Satan and the opinions of men will be defeated.

JL has been a part of my life since I was in the 4th grade and I am now in my 30s. I don't have many memories from my childhood and young adulthood without him in them. I and so many others are terribly heartsick over this whole thing. I am not saying it is true or not true, but I feel that everyone on this website is going at this in a very UNGODLY way.

This world is a fallen world and none of us are perfect. I am a mother of 2 children and these are very sickening accusations. I am not sure what the truth is at this time, I pray that God receives the Glory he deserves when all is said and done. I recognize this for what it is and that is a desperate attack from Satan and he is dancing in hell right now.

I am praying for JL, his family, and our church and community as we sort through all of this. Especially for my pastor for the position he has been put in. He is an outstanding Godly man, I can assure you, he is doing the best he can by our Lord.

Thankfully God is in the business of redemption

New BBC Open Forum said...

I don't have many memories from my childhood and young adulthood without him in them.

I bet his victims don't either.

Concerned Clintonion said...

I was just told by a member of Morrison Heights Baptist Church that JL will be addressing the congregation tomorrow (Aug.7) in the morning services. The local media needs to be told about this. This man needs to be stopped. It will be interesting to hear what in the world he could possibly say.

New BBC Open Forum said...

To the person or persons trying to comment about the rumor, take your recording devices tomorrow and if it happens you can report on it afterwards.

John Richardson said...

Since a few new voices have joined the conversation recently, I just want to restate an earlier offer. For anyone in the Clinton area, who is not actively in church and would like someone to pray for you as you work through this issue, please contact me. I do not have first-hand information and certainly cannot fix this situation, but I would be happy to look for God's perspective on this with you. And finally if you just need a safe place to vent about ministers (of which I am one), you can also do that without fear of offending me, being "exposed" or being mocked. I am hurting with you. So, if you want prayer, you can email me at

bad dream said...

I don't think John Langworthy has been at Morrison Heights more than about 10 years. Someone else may remember better.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Paul has a lot to say on the subject. How does murder work into someones credibility and their future? It was Christians he killed right? So he should have definitely stayed away from them. Right?

Anonymous said...

John Langworthy left the CPSD as Junior High Choir Director in 2001 to go to MHBC full time. He was part time before that, I believe. Prior to teaching at the Jr High he worked at Lovett Elementary. He has touched the lives of many children and adults. This is a tragic situation from all points of view.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Hal, I don't entirely recall. Hal was there for a spell as the youth minister then moved on to another church.

After he completed his doctorate he came back as the pastor I was not in the church at that time.

I was with Morrison Heights since my family moved to Clinton, and we were really tied to the church. We were seriously there every time the doors opened. Hearing this news about a leader in the church is disgusting. I would not like to tarnish his name however people need to be held accountable for crimes. Redemption and healing doesn't come from ignoring something, it comes from confession and remorse. NEITHER of these things I have seen. The church and the school also acted poorly given the situation. This is going to be awful for the town we call home.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I'm sure Paul has a lot to say on the subject. How does murder work into someones credibility and their future? It was Christians he killed right? So he should have definitely stayed away from them. Right?

Are you serious? Paul (then Saul) wasn't claiming to be a Christian when those things happened. He also repented.

Today murder (if you're caught) usually has consequences. Ask Karla Faye Tucker someday. From all indications she repented, too, but she still paid for her crime.

JL should not be in a position where he's ever allowed to be around children unsupervised.

And yeah, if Paul had molested children, I still wouldn't have let my kids be around him alone. Paul was not sinless.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Thanks for the information, anonymouses 4:39 and 4:48.

Let me make it clear that I am not in any way trying to imply that Hal Kitchings is guilty of any wrongdoing or cover-up. We're familiar with him here from his time at Germantown Baptist, and I was surprised when I read last night that he is a former pastor of MHBC. I was just curious about what years he was there and if that time overlapped with the years JL was there.

sick77 said...

Just for the record....Hal Kitchens more than likely knew about JL. I do believe Greg Belser would have done a back ground check BUT he has not handled this correctly.The church body NEEDS to take the church back. Ask Greg Belser to resign and fire the elders since they have been enlighted on this as well(and did not call his hand on it).Greg seems to tell only a little to satisfy the congregation. The church he came from that what he wants to happen at MHBC????? He has withheld his true doctrine from them and now this.How sad for the church. It has meant so much to this community.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Just for the record....Hal Kitchens more than likely knew about JL.

Maybe, but for the record... we don't know at this point if Kitchings knew or not.

However, Belser did know and did not handle it appropriately. On that point we agree.

So did Jack Graham and others at Prestonwood. This dirty little secret has been hidden for way too long.

Anonymous said...

Keep your eye on the ball, folks!!! Why drag Hal Kitchens into this? Why would Hal Kitchens have necessarily known about JL's past? Do you think JL put that on his resume? This is about a crime committed by JL. Not only is this a sin but it is a crime punishable by law. Mistakes have been made dating back to the 80's in Texas when the church leadership failed to abide by the law.

New BBC Open Forum said...

It's "Kitchings" and I agree. HK should not be dragged into this unless it is discovered he knew about JL and did nothing. Right now there is no evidence to indicate he did.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I was just told by a member of Morrison Heights Baptist Church that JL will be addressing the congregation tomorrow (Aug.7) in the morning services. The local media needs to be told about this. This man needs to be stopped. It will be interesting to hear what in the world he could possibly say.

I wouldn't hold my breath, but if you think there's a chance this will happen, you can always notify the media yourself. You might also want to attend and take a recording device with you so you'll have proof of what is said by whom.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Clintonion" or "Clintonian"?

Sorry said...

First of all, I am a member of MH. I also know JL quite well. Since we at the church do not know all the story, only what we have been told, we are interested in what will be said tomorrow.

Second of all, Dr. Greg did not hire JL, he was already on staff when Dr. Greg came on board. If you know anything about a church, the decisions are made by one person. It involves a panel of people / staff / elders, whatever you wish to refer to them as.

I'm sure if you're wondering why charges weren't filed, then you need to call the Chief of Police, Mr. Byington and ask him. I know JL's references were checked at his time of being hired, but if he's given a referral and no mention of past situations told, then you can't blame his recent employer, MHBC. You need to go to the church that did NOT notify MHBC of JL's problem.

It is hard to read all the accusations and situations that have occurred. It does frighten me knowing the number of children that have been in his care.

Thank you to the victims that have come forward - I know it's been difficult & makes it even more difficult for the other victims that probably have not come forward. If you're reading this and you are a victim, seek help for dealing with your pain.

But please know - you aren't the guilty - the one that has taken advantage of your innocence is the one that's to blame.

CEM said...

The church herd the news
met , prayed and planned
made phone calls,tracked down
info. considered options
prayed,thought of repentance,
confession,immediate accountability while the do diligence took place.
followed a plan of action
JL resigns, everyone new something is up,Sunday we learn more, we wait and hope their are no more victims,we need more of Christ our hope is in him.My boys are not victims, I know of others that are not victims.this does not happen every day and there is no handbook for it. Wait and see . please dont condem the staff.pray that if their are victims they will have the courage to come forward and that healing will take place .GOD knows and we are praying he will shine the light in all the dark places. IF we all pray for the same thing and have faith that GOD will deliver ,we can break down strong holds and every argument that sets it self up against the knowledge of GOD. HE knows and searches all things. Lets all pray for the past victims and for the Churches.OUR HOPE IS IN CHRIST, not this blog, not any pastor or law or person. What was meant for evil can be used for good .

New BBC Open Forum said...

Paul Williams was already on staff when Steve Gaines came. That did not absolve Steve of reporting it when he first learned of it. It doesn't excuse the people who knew before either.

Anonymous said...

I am curious though why the owner of this blog has not posted proof that the emails were sent and there was a willful disregard.

Why has the author of this article not taken this information to the police. Surely that would be enough (provided said evidence exists) for something to come out.

I am not siding with the accused in any way however these are huge allegations and now a days one cannot simply 'take ones word'. It is not fair to them to throw this stuff around without backing the claims up.

New BBC Open Forum said...

1. The "owner of this blog" does not have the permission of the parties involved to post all the correspondence. If you'll take the time to read back through the comments you'll see that some correspondence has already been posted. Much of the correspondence has been in the form of phone calls.

2. The police have been contacted.

Valarie said...

To Heartsick,
I saw many other statements in your comment that waved a big red flag but I will focus on one particular paragraph you wrote.

"I am praying for JL, his family, and our church and community as we sort through all of this. Especially for my pastor for the position he has been put in. He is an outstanding Godly man,...."

You failed to think about praying for the VICTIMS of an ADMITTED sexual abuser.
This ADMITTED sexual predator put himself BACK into positions of authority and trust after ADMITTING to crimes that some have referred to as a "problem".

The "GODLY" and RIGHT thing to do is ALWAYS to protect the innocent, to protect those who cannot protect themselves,and TELL THE TRUTH. Your little pastor doesn't need your comfort, support, or prayers near as much as the confused, wounded, victims of your admitted sexual predator.

No wonder many of us are leaving your bogus churches. You are so shallow and heartLESS rather than heartsick.

The same thing happened at BBC. Everyone came to the rescue of poor pitiful, quivering lipped "pastor". They turned their backs (and the mic off when he tried to speak) on the victim/victims of Paul Willimas.

What's happening at this church goes back to the core of the stand the SBC has taken on this subject for many years. They are no better than the fact , they are worse. The SBC is too cunning to allow records to be kept. At least the Catholics left a paper trail.

Anonymous said...

Well everyone this may come as a shock to some, bit this morning at Morrison Heights Mr Langeworthy came out abd admited to the abuse. He said he has not done it since the 80s or something. A bunch of people were disgusted, some were crying and about 50 people circled around him and started praying. Couldn't believe it, deff a eventful morning...

Just R said...

To those following this, I never knew of this blog until today after service.

This morning, John & his Wife took the stage during the morning service to issue a full confession to the events 22 years ago in Dallas. He offered no excuses other than to state that it happened, and after moving to Mississippi devoted his life to christ and it has never happened again.

Afterwards, one of the elders took the stage and announced the results of their investigation, which corroborated the events of 22 years ago but found nothing in his tenure at Morrison Heights. Nonetheless, he was supervised by other adults during all youth/child events ever since they were made aware of the past, until he resigned.

Sorry to see him go, he was a good music minister. But events like this haunt you for the rest of your life for a reason.

- R

Sickened said...

JL admitted sexual misconduct with young boys in this morning's church service. I do not attend MH but have friends that do, so I have only heard second hand. He admitted to doing it back at the other church, but denied doing anything since then......
Belser also addressed congregation and said that the rumors he has known for a year about this are false.

I heard there were a lot of tears among the congregation.

This whole thing sickens me. I grew up in Clinton and JL taught at the junior high when I was there..... I have a son now and I think I would kill someone who even TRIED to molest my child....

If JL was truly a "changed man" after the incidents at his old church, then he NEVER should have put himself in a position to be working around children again. Nor should he have stayed in the ministry. His witness has been tarnished. God forgives us our sins, but ministers of a church are held to a higher standard, to be leaders of the flock, etc., and JL never should have put himself back up on that kind of a pedestal after what he had done.

I find it hard to believe he just "stopped." Especially considering he has worked with children for so long now.... I hope and pray that any other victims come forward and get the justice they deserve.

Anonymous said...

I was not at all surprised to learn that the majority of those in attendance at MHBC "rallied" around JL today after his confession during morning services. This church is known in the community as a group of people who think they are above others. Now it looks as tho they are above the law as well. This is my last comment and my last visit to this site. I won't stop the prayers, however, for they are indeed needed.

MHBC Attendee said...

For those interested, there was indeed an announcement made by JL in both of the morning services today. He read a prepared statement in which he admitted to "sexual indiscretions" in the past with "boys". I don't remember if he or the pastor stated that this occurred both in Texas and in Mississippi prior to leaving for Texas. In addition, he stated that he had been in counseling since returning to Mississippi and had "surrounded" himself with people who knew of his past to hold him accountable. The statement was made that there was no knowledge of any further such actions since then.

This was followed by a prepared response form the elders who stated that these accusations were the reason for the unexplained change in his church activity (e.g. he stopped directing the upper elementary children's choir) that occurred several months prior to his resignation.

It was also stated (by JL) that his resignation was for the reasons given at the time -- with much of the stress referred to then being related to the resurfacing of issues from his past. There was no indication that the resignation was forced or otherwise coerced. It was further stated (by the pastor) that the public confession was expected but that the timing would be between John and God.

Finally, there was a statement by the pastor that to their knowledge there had been no further such acts while at MHBC. He then encouraged anyone that might know otherwise to please report that information.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Thanks to all who were there or provided information. I don't think you've heard the whole story. From what I understand there were more than 2 victims.

Also, the thing many people seem to still be missing is that the church was not legally qualified to do an investigation. Their legal obligation was to report to and cooperate with the police and CPS.

As for JL, if he felt the need to surround himself with people who would hold him accountable (this is a good thing), then why would he accept jobs where he worked with children? That makes no sense. It's like a recovering alcoholic taking a job as a bartender, a recovering prescription drug addict taking a job in a pharmacy, or a recovering arsonist taking a job as a firefighter. Why put yourself in the middle of tempting situations?

Let's not forget the superintendent of the Clinton schools knew about JL for nearly a year, too. Whether Belser knew about him 3 months or 6 months, it was still 3 to 6 months too long.

If this story had not leaked out I've no doubt they would have all continued with the cover-up. I'm convinced they're still covering up a lot.

Anonymous said...

I believe JL said he went to counseling. If he did, what counselor would tell him it was okay to work with youth. What people surrounded him...I can't believe if someone knew his past they would take on the burden of holding him accountable.(I sure wouldn't) Why didn't the "people" inform MHBC of what they were doing?
I pray that MHBC will really try and find out if there are victims. I pray that people will see that this isn't to hurt JL but to protect children.
Just some thoughts...why has JL never come clean before he was forced. Why didn't he tell the reason he left the church in Dallas before he started working at MHBC? I wonder if he lied on his application...Can we trust him to tell the whole truth now...
Please don't try to protect JL. Too much is at stake.

SSmom said...

As a member of MH, I was there this morning. I knew of the situation before now because of this site. Seeing these comments, reading them, and having to come with grips of the situation has been difficult. I have grown children that were a part of many activities involving John.

I'm sure as many other parents, I had to talk to my kids about the situation before they found out from other sources.

I'm not trying to downplay the situation, and I'm sure the victims live the situation every day. But also, there are more than just the victims that have come forward. This blog, the outcome of everything, John's statement this morning will have a lasting impact on many people forever. My kids, other kids, families, staff, school kids, and all those that have known JL for so long.

John has lived with this for apparently over 21 years. I'm sure the guilt, the hiding, the denial has done a number on him mentally & physically. I've known him for over 30 years & this morning I saw a man that wasn't the man I've known for so long.

I'm not saying it's all about John, and I do hope John has received forgiveness for all that's taken place & can start the healing process within himself.

My concern is for the victims - they are the ones that need the support & love.

I am tired of seeing all the blame placed upon MH. This situation happened before he ever came on board at our church. This situation will be on our minds & hearts forever.

There were steps that had to be taken before the information was made public. In churches, schools, jobs - you hear rumors. You have to seek the truth, get the evidence, before you make accusations. The church did that - they talked to the victims, they confronted John, and they asked direct questions.

The time now if for healing for all the victims, all the past & present. Doesn't mean we forget, doesn't mean we understand right now. But it's time we pray like never before for all those involved.

A phrase comes to mind, because of being a parent myself & knowing how I feel. "May God have mercy on his soul". I know if my child had been a direct victim, I know how I'd feel & it would take God to stop me from seeking revenge. It's bad enough knowing my kids are hurting just from knowing a person they respected and loved, has admitted to all of this. Yes, I'm grateful he admitted it, but it doesn't change the hurt we all feel within us.

Anonymous said...

As A member of MHBC, I am sickened and saddened to hear of these allegations through a website. I cannot describe the hurt and disappointment running through my body that this was not discussed during John's initial resignation.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Trust me, I haven't enjoyed the fact that this seems to be the only source of information for you either. What a shame that your own community leaders (20+ years ago at Prestonwood and now MHBC and Clinton Public Schools) and JL himself chose to cover this up.

Anonymous said...

COVER UP is exactly what has gone on for 21 years and is still going on. Today's "prepared statement" was a step in the right direction, but the church and school leaders have some explaining to do as well. Accountability is what we teach our children. This is nothing short of a tragedy!! Pray for his victims.

KB said...

To SSmom:
You said, "There were steps that had to be taken before the information was made public. In churches, schools, jobs - you hear rumors. You have to seek the truth, get the evidence, before you make accusations. The church did that - they talked to the victims, they confronted John, and they asked direct questions."

(And to all reading this blog, I am truly sorry that you had to hear the truth on a blog.)

"Professional" and I pleaded on numerous occasions on the phone and through emails for Greg Belser to remove John and inform every church member as to the reason, as well as to report the abuse to the authorities so that they can handle the investigation to find current victims. I have said this before, but to clarify, after one victim contacted him in Feb., Dr. Belser and the elders concluded after about a 2 month investigation, that they did on their own, that John would remain on staff, and they felt "safe" in their decision. He told me this when he called me to tell me they had concluded their investigation. This was on the evening of April 11. What ensued in the next 24 hours was another victim coming forward to Belser as well as a phone call from the executive pastor of Prestonwood Baptist in Dallas asking Belser why John was still on staff.

There are more than these 2 victims that he admitted today, these crimes against children that he confessed today. I know because I have talked to them. He is only admitting to what he has been caught with, the two victims that called Greg Belser. I caution you to not take the word of an admitted pedophile that he has had no more victims.

David said...

To those that have been defending John, how do you feel today? I am sure you are sickened but let me ask you this; are you proud of how your church handled this today? Let me give you a quick example; just suppose that there were other child sexual abuse victims in the worship service this morning. Forget if they might be a victim of John or not. What message did your church send to them when the group came up and surrounded John in prayer? Did any of you that participated in that act think for one second about other victims? Seems to me you guys were rejoicing in the” fact” that there are only “two” victims that John abused so long ago and the “fact” there are no other victims. May I ask who told you that; was it a now admitted pedophile that deceived you for over 22 years? And you guys rejoice in that? And the church leadership says they have searched and could not find any other victims; really? If they couldn’t even discern that one of them was a pedophile how in the world am I confident they could locate a victim?

Please take a look at your own family. Do you have a 10 year old or 16 year old? Have you forgotten how innocent they are that age? Now picture this man supposedly called by God and he sexually abuses them. Think for one second the hell he just put them in. Now what about his “two” victims; what about their lives and the nightmare they live every day. What about them? They didn’t need John to admit he sexually abused them, they know firsthand what an evil CRIME he committed on them.

John should have never been given the platform to use for this spectacle. He should have been fired months ago and shown the door. The church should have never held any kind of appreciation reception for him. He has made a habit of using people and he used you once again today and that sickens me.

For those that emailed and called I want to thank you. Many of you were genuinely concerned for the welfare of your children and your church. You are in my prayers. And for those that called me the devil, liar and other names, you too are in my prayers. I know you must be hurting. I am so sorry for you. Those of you that questioned me as to why I did not call your pastor and other elders, now you know why I did not. Remember I urged many of you make those phone calls yourself, I knew the truth. You too are in my prayers.

The only winner today is John. Everyone else is hurting. I do pray the full truth does come out and in time I know it will. John Richardson is a Pastor that lives in Clinton. Please seek him out. John has stepped forward and is willing to help those dear, wounded, hurting souls. I can assure you that when you went to church this morning, despite the rumors that were floating around, you never imagined hearing and seeing what you did. My heart goes out to you. But I do know this fact also, we served a mighty God and he does heal.
David Brown

SSmom said...

It's easy to say now what should have, could have or would have been done if it was another situation, place or event.

The time for the blame game needs to end. I do appreciate the blogger for making this information public.

The part I don't appreciate is John hiding it for so long. I do know at the time of his resignation he was asked to give a statement, for whatever reason - it took some time for him to come up with the words to say. I am not going to speculate or assume why the time frame on this. The only thing I do admire if I can use that word and not be attacked, is he did make a statement and admit to the situation.

My concerns are ... if it had not been for this blog site, would he have ever admitted to his past? There are a lot of ifs here.

Also, I don't like the comments made about our community and about us being above or better than others. That's totally not true. I do consider it a family friendly/college town. But just like a real family - there are skelatons, black sheep, etc in the family. No family is perfect, no one person is perfect & no town is perfect.

Would I want to be in a family that stood up for me & supported me? Yes, and I'm sure most of you would agree. Would I want my family to know and find out the facts before accusing me? Yes, I would hope they would do that before coming after me.

Maybe the circumstances or the time isn't in everyone's agenda - but the people involved had to make sure their bases were covered, the facts were known & the steps taken to protect all involved. This doesn't mean protecting John, but it meant even protecting those harmed by him in every way.

Maybe you don't agree or would have done things different, but if anything maybe everyone that reads this will learn from this awful experience. I've been in church all my life & have never been exposed or known of anything like this - so it's new to me as well.

Yes - I've heard the stories / seen the news, but until you're directly involved - it's a different experience.

We all have opinions - that's what makes us unique.

All we can do now is rebuild, refocus, and pray. The victims are in my thoughts and prayers, because now they're having to relive this over and over each day because it's so in the public. I pray for their peace & pray for their healing.

I pray for John's daughters, because they have a lot to face, a lot to overcome and a lot to try and understand. I pray for his family because they share the burden and hurt.

I do know the church has asked and made it public if there are any other victims to come forward. I hope and pray their aren't any more, but if they are - I pray they have the strength & support to call someone & seek help & justice.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU, David Brown!!! I agree with you 100%. John committed these crimes (2, 10, who knows??) and now after today's "performance" -he's all better and the community is shell-shocked! AND the victims . . . . I can't imagine what they live with every day. God is a loving God and he knows all - I am praying for all concerned.

David said...

Dear SSimon: John's victims hurt not because the story is public but because John sexually abused them when they were innocent children and it was further compounded by the cover-up with the leaders at your church. You can color it anyway you want but what they did(not do) was flat wrong. It is apparent they did not believe the word of the "first" victim and it took the word of yet another victim to get them to react. And the whole time they delayed children were at risk.

That is wrong and they should be called out for it.

Sickened said...

Seriously people- let's be real here. The only reason JL did what he did this morning at church was because word was already out.

Had this blog never been discovered and emailed around everyone in Clinton- he NEVER would have addressed the church. And if this blog hadn't become common knowledge around Clinton, I don't know if Belser would have asked him to resign. I would hope so, but I can't be sure.

Bottom line- if his past hadn't caught up with him, he would still be working with children today. You know it, I know it, and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves.

This man is a predator who has committed unspeakable acts against the most innocent victims. It sickens me to hear people say they feel sorry for him!!!!!!!!!!!

I do feel sorry for his wife and his daughters, but I feel no sorrow for him. He did this to himself and he's only fessing up now because he had to. Thank goodness this did come to light, or else he could still be in a position to abuse children.

To all who claim they know him and he's a good man... seriously? Obviously you don't know him at all. Very few did, apparently. And that's what most people say about serial killers- "he was such a nice guy, I had no idea"

That's because predators like him are cunning and they know how to "fit in" with what society's norms are. He deliberately put himself in a position to be around children every day of his life, for his own sick, lustful purposes.

How anyone could make excuses for him is baffling to me. Baffling. And I am from Clinton, I know the reputation he used to have before this. But that means nothing now. He put on a great act. He had all of us fooled, people. Wake up.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I would like to highlight one thing "S Smom" said. I was thinking about this when you posted your comment. That is that there are really two sets of victims here.

1. The actual victims of JL themselves. It should go without saying these are the ones we should be the most concerned about.

2. And on a different level, JL's daughters. His wife has chosen to stand by her man for reasons known only to her, but his daughters had no choice and do not deserve this. I'm sorry what their father chose to do has brought this uninvited drama and pain into their lives.

I've heard more sympathy expressed for JL, his friends, MHBC, the "image" of Clinton, and all the kids JL didn't molest than I have for the victims. I realize people who knew JL as nothing but a kind, caring man and friend or teacher are hurt by this as well, but you are not "victims" of anything but 20+ years of betrayal.

ThisGuy said...

For the record. I don't know that even if something was reported to the Clinton PD that without someone pressing charges anything can be done.

A church can't send someone to jail, and a church has to follow church discipline outlined in the bible. Did everyone at MHBC do that? I can't say I wasn't there and don't know.

The Bible says "If he refuses to repent..." and outlines steps... But let me be clear. The people whom Jesus spent the most time with were the Sinners and Tax Collectors and Prostitutes. If John is repentant there is nothing but love, and a whole lot of grief to offer. Is that pretty? Neat? Is it a nice case of Law and Order SVU? Heck no. But if he's truly repentant (NOW) and no one but God can judge his heart, the church must show him Grace. Justice? Yes. Should he still work there? NO, should he be allowed near a child? NO! Is it the Churches job to get him in to prison? No.

There is no platform for the church to make "legal system" decisions and decide if there was a "crime committed" and even if there is something reported (which I'm not arguing that there was/is) it's the District Attorney etc that have to take the next steps.

I've been around a situation where there had been charges pressed in a case of a young child abused - and they were swept away and called lies. The system isn't perfect, even when there are crimes committed. I can't say anything about what happened today, but I can only hope that parents are talking to their kids and that someone that has been a victim actually stands up and presses charges and gets a trial. Other than that, we can all wring our hands and point fingers, but the legal system isn't perfect either. It's also very slow and thorough at times. The last thing Clinton and MHBC needs is a Casey Anthony saga with shotty workmanship letting off someone who looks pretty guilty. Proving guilt and getting an arrest and conviction is much, much harder!

Anonymous said...

I am a native Clintonian, who has known John Langworthy good or better than most folks....for the past 20 years. We were very close for a long, long time. The statement that he "surrounded himself with people who knew about his past in order to hold him accountable" is a lie. I'd like to sugar-coat it and say that it was a "misstatement" or something equally elequent. But the truth is the truth and it was not told this morning. There might have been a person or two from the distant past who knew what had happened in Texas (and there was), but there certainly was not a "group of people surrounding him who knew of his past and who were holding him accountable." I know everyone at that church too well. No one would have known the details and not have reported it to the current pastor before he came as pastor, or to the authorities, or both. In fact, if any of the church leaders had known about the abuses prior to this e-mail site bringing it public, they certainly would not have allowed Mr. Langworthy to be on their church staff.

Christa Brown said...

"I'm convinced they're still covering up a lot."

Me too. Has anyone heard any explanation or remorse from pastor Jack Graham at Prestonwood in Dallas? Will anyone hold Graham, who is a former Southern Baptist president, accountable for his reported role in allowing JL to simply move? Does anyone in denominational leadership even give a hoot? What about the congregation of Prestonwood? Will they hold their pastor accountable in this? The answer, of course, is not likely. In Baptistland, clergy sex abuse cover-ups happen without consequence to the cover-uppers . . . and that's why they just keep happening.

Valarie (8/7/11, 12:30) got it exactly right: "What's happening at this church goes back to the core of the stand the SBC has taken on this subject for many years."

Denominational leaders didn’t hesitate to heap public praise on Graham back in 2008 for how he addressed his congregation after another Prestonwood minister, Joe Barron, was arrested in a sting for soliciting an undercover cop posing as a 13-year-old. Of course, on that occasion, the minister’s arrest was ALREADY headline news and so Graham had little choice but to say something. So he did. But look at what Jack Graham did in this case when he actually had a choice . . . and more importantly, look at what he DIDN’T do.

But oh gee whiz, back in 2008, Morris Chapman, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee pointed to Graham as an example of how church leaders should respond to clergy abuse. “We must join Dr. Graham 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.”

Uhhhh…. How did Jack Graham confront this crime? How did Jack Graham expose it? How did Jack Graham work to protect the children under the care of the ministries of Southern Baptist churches?

But the real question is this . . . so what if Graham didn’t work to expose the crime or protect kids? What consequence will he face? None. Zip. Nada. No one in Baptistland actually gives a hoot when a pastor keeps quiet about accusations concerning another minister’s abuse of kids. Where is the voice of denominational leadership NOW?

Furthermore, at that time in 2008 (i.e., just a few years ago), Graham publicly bragged that, prior to Barron, “in forty years of ministry, I never had one moral problem with a staff member.” (see link above)

Uhhhh… did Graham not think that what JL did constituted a “moral problem”? Did he consider it so inconsequential that he just forgot about it? Or was he putting up still another smokescreen?

Let them begin to heal said...

Not understanding WHY he's not been arrested. Seriously?! Are our school communities and churches THAT powerful?! Arrest him. Make it known that he is a pedophile. HELP the true and only victims in all of this, the children who have suffered over 20 years and possibly (more than likely) those more recently. I pray that word gets out, he is arrested and the children and their families can start a healing process they very well deserved and have been deprived.

Anonymous said...

You(like many others who have posted) do nothing but show your ignorance and generalization when you use words like "Baptistland".

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