Friday, August 26, 2011

Church Leaders Lawyer Up In Sex Crime Investigation

Well, this is just sad. Unfortunately, it was also predictable. I was really hoping Morrison Heights Baptist Church was going to be the exception and not the rule.

Read along and let this sink in:

According to his alleged victim, John Langworthy's sex crimes took place 22 years ago when the former minister of music at Morrison Heights Baptist Church was babysitting.

McBride: "And obviously it's a very serious allegation."

Prosecutors say the accusations against the 49-year-old husband and father include multiple acts of child molestation.

McBride: "I guess it really would fall under both sexual battery and gratification of lust, both lustful touching and penetration.

Assistant district attorney, Jamie McBride, wants to know what church leaders know about Langworthy's possible past sex crimes, but elders at Morrison Heights are now speaking through their attorney.

McBride: "The attorney for them has asked us to come up with some law to talk about whether or not that's privileged conversations or not."

Ross Adams, WJTV News, Channel 12

Could this be what all the "lawyering up" is about?

Who may report a suspected case of child abuse?

In accordance with Section 43-21-353 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated, "Any attorney, physician, dentist, intern, resident, nurse, psychologist, social worker, family protection worker, family protection specialist, child caregiver, minister, law enforcement officer, public or private school employee or any other person having reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a neglected child or an abused child, shall cause an oral report to be made immediately by telephone or otherwise and followed as soon thereafter as possible by a report in writing to the Department of Human Services, ..."

What will happen if you know of abuse and don't report it?

Upon being found guilty, the individual shall be punished by a fine not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or by imprisonment in jail not to exceed one (1) year, or both. Mississippi Code of 1972, Annotated Section 43-21-353(7).

Related articles:

Clarion Ledger >> August 28th >> Abuse case talks called privileged

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services >> Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect: Summary of State Laws

Wolves in the Music Ministry

Wolves in the Music Ministry - Part 2

Letter to the editor in the Clarion Ledger from David Clohessy, national director of SNAP.

WAPT-TV >> Grand Jury To Consider Case Against Former Clinton Minister

Associated Baptist Press >> Prosecutors want information from church about former minister suspected of child abuse

We saw the same stonewalling from Bellevue during the Paul Williams investigation.

Deny, Deny, Deny!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wolves in the Music Ministry - Part 2

This will be a continuation of the original Wolves in the Music Ministry post. The comment stream was getting pretty long.

The cover-up of John Langworthy's "indiscretions" and "mistakes" (his words) while at Prestonwood is coming back to bite as evidenced by the lead story by Brett Shipp on WFAA-TV's August 8th 10:00 p.m. broadcast. Thank you, Amy, for your advocacy for victims and for your persistence in bringing this story to light. If it were not for your efforts I have no doubt nothing would have changed.

WFAA-TV >> Disturbing revelations about former Prestonwood minister

Bob Allen has addressed this story:

Associated Baptist Press >> Abuse confession raises questions of cover-up by Baptist mega-church

Associated Baptist Press >> Pastor renews call for database of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse

Associated Baptist Press >> Christa Brown >> Opinion: Prestonwood saga shows clergy abuse database is overdue

It also made the newspapers:

August 9th:

Dallas Morning News >> Former Prestonwood minister admits to 'sexual indiscretions' with students more than 20 years ago

Clarion Ledger >> Clinton music minister confesses to 'sexual indiscretions'

Clarion Ledger >> Clinton minister quits over allegations

August 10th:

The Republic >> Recently resigned music minister admits long-ago sexual misconduct with teen boys

Hattiesburg American >> Ex-music minister admits past sexual misconduct

August 15th:

Clarion Ledger >> Man accuses former Clinton music minister of molestation

Clarion Ledger >> Ex-choir leader in sex probe

August 19th:

Clarion Ledger >> Hinds DA office probes molestation claims against former Clinton music minister

August 20th:

Clarion Ledger >> DA probing sex abuse allegations

The Oklahoman >> Enid pastor renews call for clergy sex abuse database

And Jackson, MS TV:

August 9th:

WAPT-TV >> Former Youth Minister, Teacher Makes Startling Admission

WLBT-TV >> Clinton music minister makes eye-opening confession

August 10th:

WAPT-TV >> No Criminal Complaints Filed Against Former Minister

WJTV-TV >> Former Music Minister Admits To Sexual Indiscretions

WJTV-TV >> Clinton Parents in Shock Over Former Minister's Confession

WJTV-TV >> Ex-Music Minister Admits Past Sexual Misconduct

August 11th:

FOX 40 >> Church Scandal

August 15th:

WAPT-TV >> Clinton Police Investigate Complaint Against Former Minister

WLBT-TV >> Former Clinton church music minister under investigation

WJTV-TV >> Police To Meet With Minister's Alleged Victim

August 16th:

WAPT-TV >> Former Minister's Accuser Expected To Speak To Police

August 19th:

WLBT-TV >> Questions about sexual misconduct continue for music minister

Around the Blogosphere:

Wade Burleson >> Full Circle: Why the SBC Child Predator Database Is Needed Now, Not Later (Comments have been reopened.)

FBC Jax Watchdog >> In the Langworthy/Prestonwood Story, Bloggers Once Again Show They are Sorely Needed to Get Truth Out

Zwinglius Redivivus >> The Catholics Aren’t The Only Ones Who Cover Up Their Clergy’s Evils

The Wartburg Watch >> Does the SBC Fear Women Pastors More Than The Molestation of Children?

Wade Burleson >> The Reason the SBC Will Not Create a Minister Sex Abuse Data Base Is Liability, Not Polity

A now-former teacher at Prestonwood Christian Academy was recently indicted for having an inproper relationship with a 17-year-old female student. Although the student went to his apartment willingly on several occasions, he was 26 at the time. In Texas it's a second-degree felony, regardless of the parties' ages, for an educator to have an improper relationship with a student.

Plano Star >> Former Prestonwood teacher indicted

Then there was Joe Barron.

Barron videos

Apparently Johnson and Barron's cases were handled swiftly by the administration at Prestonwood. However, Barron's story was plastered all over the national news at the time, and Johnson's was covered in the local news, so they really didn't have much choice. With Langworthy it's less clear about the timeline and who knew what when, but apparently the church and school district in Clinton were never warned about him.

If a database of convicted, confessed, and credibly accused sexual predators was available to Baptist churches, and if the churches would avail themselves of it, a lot of these cases could be prevented. When will Baptist leaders wake up, stop covering for their own, and establish some method of accountability within their ranks? I know, I know! Baptist churches are autonomous. Unless, of course, they do something really bad like call a woman preacher. Autonomy is such a relative term in "Baptistland."

TRANSCRIPT of John Langworthy's August 7, 2011 statement to Morrison Heights Baptist Church


A "Family of Friends"?

This video clip is from the August 24, 2011 Wednesday night "Awesome August" service.

Watch closely. A picture's worth a thousand words.

This video is for noncommercial use only. Its use here is solely for critical commentary and/or parody which qualifies as fair use and is protected under Title 17, Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law, aka the "Fair Use Doctrine."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Do as I say, not as I do.

From The Commercial Appeal...


The week before the new school year started on Aug. 8, thousands of Memphis City Schools teachers, along with lots and lots of security personnel, attended a workshop for teachers that was held at Bellevue Baptist Church. Parking was at a premium. I asked a Bellevue security officer about this MCS security car that was parked in a space reserved for the handicapped and was told, "That's OK." Well it's not OK if you are a handicapped person looking for a spot to park. This is Memphis City Ordinance 11-40-16: "This section shall be enforceable on public property or on private property where a business, firm or other person transacting business with the public from a permanent location, has provided specially marked parking spaces for the exclusive use of handicapped drivers or passengers, as set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated, Sections 55-21-101 et seq., and Section 68-120-204." It's funny -- or maybe just pretty interesting -- that security officers for Bellevue and MCS think it's OK to park in a handicapped spot. "1,000 Words" is a pictorial commentary on events in Greater Memphis and around the world. Today's "1,000 Words" was written by Mike Maple, a photographer for The Commercial Appeal.

Photo by Mike Maple © The Commercial Appeal

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Enlarging our borders, are we?

Check out the speaker line-up (and disregard the obvious typos).

I have only one question. Why?

What We Believe

Okay, I have one more question. Do we agree on these Four Core Beliefs?

The "Four Core Beliefs" of the Assemblies of God:

1. Salvation
2. Baptism in the Holy Spirit
3. Divine Healing
4. the Second Coming of Christ.

Since most of us are Baptists here I assume we are pretty much in agreement with #1, and I don't think anyone would argue with #4. However, I think I can say with certainty that most of us, as Baptists, do not agree with #2 or for that matter #3 as it's taught and practiced in the AoG church.

Recently we've heard a lot about primary, secondary, and tertiary beliefs among Christians and more specifically Southern Baptists, and all but the most rabid of the Baptist Identity crowd have agreed to disagree on all the tertiary stuff and most of the secondary stuff. We have not agreed to disagree on the primary stuff. Some have tried to make secondary and tertiary issues primary issues, but that's a different subject.

By definition, "core beliefs" are primary beliefs, the very foundation of our faith. This is not to say that we cannot cooperate with AoG churches in some situations, but this is like the Tennessee Baptist Convention inviting the pastor of the largest Assembly of God church in Memphis to speak at their annual meeting. He's probably a really great guy, but he's not Baptist.

Therefore, what possible reason could the Tennessee District of the Assemblies of God have for inviting Steve Gaines to be their keynote speaker, and what reason could Steve Gaines possibly have for accepting their invitation?

I'm all ears eyes.