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He was then charged by Information on February 20, He pled guilty before Judge Miller on February 20, Quinonez was sentenced on September 2, According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, an officer with the New Waterford, Ohio police department went online using an undercover persona designed to identify individuals who were interested in engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors. Part of that undercover persona included that the adult had a 14 year old daughter. While on line, the officer received an instant message from an individual asking for pornographic pictures of the 14 year old.
The New Waterford police department identified the screen name of the person requesting the illegal photos. The investigation then progressed to the point that the Greeley, Colorado and Pueblo, Colorado police departments were contacted to try and identify and locate the individual sending the instant messages. Investigators found that Quinonez was the person using the identified instant messager screen name, and that he resided in Pueblo. The FBI found that the electronic storage media contained in excess of images and videos depicting child pornography.
Additionally, the FBI found more than email messages in which the defendant either sent or received child pornography.
Ohio Juvenile Sex Offender Ruling Spotlights National Policy
Attorney Troy Eid. Assistant U. Attorney Judith Smith prosecuted the case. Among those upset by Leathers' decision to publish the story was Glenn Akins, the interim executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Akins, now the assistant executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, declined an interview request. Leathers resigned after state Baptist convention leaders told him he might be fired and lose his severance pay, he said.
Mason, meanwhile, admitted to investigators that he had relationships with four different girls, records show. Mason received a seven-year prison sentence under a plea deal in which investigators dropped all but two of his charges. After his release, he returned to the pulpit of a different SBC church a few miles away.
If a church calls a woman to pastor their church, there are a lot of Southern Baptist organizations that, sadly, would disassociate with them immediately. Why wouldn't they do the same for convicted sex offenders? Mason has since preached at multiple SBC churches in central Illinois. He said in an interview that those churches "absolutely know about my past," and said churches and other institutions need "to be better at handling" sexual abuse. Mason said that "nobody is above reproach in all things" and that church leaders — particularly those who work with children — "desperately need accountability.
Jones, also leader of a nonprofit called Touching the Future Today, was included on the list of convicted ministers released by the Baptist General Convention of Texas a decade ago. In December, Cathedral of Faith celebrated its 20th anniversary at a downtown Houston hotel, according to the church's website. A flyer for the event touted sermons from Jones, another pastor and Joseph S. Ratliff, the longtime pastor of Houston's Brentwood Baptist Church.
Ratliff was sued in for sexual misconduct with a man he was counseling. The lawsuit was settled and dismissed by agreement of the parties, according to Harris County court records and interviews. The settlement is subject to a confidentiality agreement. Ratliff has been sued two other times, one involving another person who had come in for counseling; the other involved his handling of allegations against another church official, Harris County records show.
The disposition of those two cases was not available. Wade Burleson, a former president of Oklahoma's Southern Baptist convention, says it has long been clear that Southern Baptist churches face a crisis. In and , he asked SBC leaders to study sexual abuse in churches and bring prevention measures to a vote at the SBC's annual meeting. Leaders pushed back both times, he said. Some cited local church autonomy; others feared lawsuits if the reforms didn't prevent abuse. To me, that's a problem. You must want to do it, to do it.
Doyle, the Catholic whistleblower, was similarly suspicious, if more blunt: "I understand the fear, because it's going to make the leadership look bad," he said. Because they have ignored this issue. They have demonized the victims. Several Southern Baptist leaders and their churches have been criticized for ignoring the abused or covering for alleged predators, including at Houston's Second Baptist, where former SBC President Ed Young has been pastor since Young built the church into one of the largest and most important in the SBC; today, it counts more than 60, members who attend at multiple campuses.
Before she was molested in the choir room at Second Baptist in , Heather Schneider filled a black notebook with poems. The seventh-grader, with long white-blond hair and sparkling green eyes, had begun to work as a model. She soon attracted attention from John Forse, who coordinated church pageants and programs at Second Baptist. He also used his position to recruit girls for private acting lessons, according to Harris County court documents. A day after she was attacked, Schneider told her mother, Casados, that Forse had touched her inappropriately and tried to force her to do "horrendous things.
Casados, who was raised a Baptist, said she received a call from Young, who initially offered to do whatever he could to help her daughter. But after she told Young she already had called police, he hung up and "we never heard from him again," she said in an interview. It took months — and the threat of criminal charges — before Forse left his position at the church, according to statements made by Forse's attorney at the time and Schneider's responses to questions in a related civil lawsuit.
In August , Forse received deferred adjudication and 10 years' probation after pleading no contest to two counts of indecency with a child by contact. He remains a registered sex offender and was later convicted of a pornography charge. He is listed in the sex offender registry as transient; he could not be reached for comment.
Church officials declined interview requests. In a statement to the Chronicle, Second Baptist stated that it takes "allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse very seriously and constantly strives to provide and maintain a safe, Christian environment for all employees, church members and guests. The church declined to release its employment policies but described Forse as a "short-term contract worker" when he was accused of sex abuse.
Schneider's parents filed a civil lawsuit against the church, Forse and a modeling agency. The case against the church was dismissed; its lawyers argued that Forse was not acting as a church employee. Second Baptist was not part of an eventual settlement. In , before Schneider was molested, a lawyer for the Southern Baptist Convention wrote in a court filing that the SBC did not distribute instructions to its member churches on handling sexual abuse claims. He said Second Baptist had no written procedures on the topic. In a court filing, Cox admitted to molesting three boys in the late s.
Young, SBC president at the time of the lawsuit, was asked to outline the organization's policies on child sexual abuse as part of the lawsuit. He declined to testify, citing "local church autonomy" and saying in an affidavit that he had "no educational training in the area of sexual abuse or the investigation of sexual abuse claims. Leaders of Second Baptist have been similarly reluctant to release or discuss their policies on sexual abuse in response to two other civil lawsuits related to sexual assault claims filed in the last five years, court records show.
Those suits accuse the church of ignoring or concealing abuses committed by youth pastor Chad Foster, who was later convicted. Another civil lawsuit asserted that Second Baptist helped conceal alleged rapes by Paul Pressler, a former Texas state judge and former SBC vice president. In that suit, brought by a member of Pressler's youth group, three other men have said in affidavits that Pressler groped them or tried to pressure them into sex. Second Baptist, however, has been dismissed from the suit, and the plaintiff's sexual abuse claims against Pressler have been dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.
In its statement to the Chronicle, Second Baptist said "our policy and practice have been and will continue to be that any complaint of sexual misconduct will be heard, investigated and handled in a lawful and appropriate way.
Reports of sexual abuse are immediately reported to law enforcement officials as required by law. In this file photo, Dr. Young in the s served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Another defendant in the lawsuit against Pressler: Paige Patterson, a former SBC president who, with Pressler, pushed the convention in the s and s to adopt literal interpretations of the Bible. In May of last year, Patterson was ousted as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth after he said he wanted to meet alone with a female student who said she was raped so he could "break her down," according to a statement from seminary trustees.
But his handling of sexual abuse dates back decades. The Gilyard case bothered Debbie Vasquez. She feared other victims had been ignored or left to handle their trauma alone. When Vasquez became pregnant, she said, leaders of her church forced her to stand in front of the congregation and ask for forgiveness without saying who had fathered the child. She said church members were generally supportive but were never told the child was their pastor's. Church leadership shunned her, asked her to get an abortion and, when she said no, threatened her and her child, she said.
She moved abroad soon after. Vasquez sued her former pastor and his church in In a deposition, the pastor, Dale "Dickie" Amyx, admitted to having sex with her when she was a teenager, though he maintained that it was consensual. He acknowledged paternity of her child but was never charged with any crime.
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 12222
Amyx was listed as the church's pastor as late as , state Baptist records show. He could not be reached for comment. Amyx denies that he threatened or physically assaulted Vasquez. He and his employer at the time of the lawsuit — an SBC church Vasquez never attended — argued that Vasquez exaggerated her story in an attempt to get publicity for her fight for reforms, court records show. Amyx wrote an apology letter that Vasquez provided to the newspapers; her lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but she continued pressing SBC leaders, including Patterson, to act. In one series of emails, she asked Patterson why leaders didn't intervene in cases such as Gilyard's.
Patterson responded forcefully, writing in that he "forced Gilyard to resign his church" and "called pastors all over the USA and since that day Gilyard has never preached for any Southern Baptist organization. It was there that Tiffany Thigpen said she met Gilyard, who she said later "viciously" attacked her.
Thigpen, who was 18 at the time, said that Vines tried to shame her into silence after she disclosed the abuse to him. As far as Thigpen knows, police were never notified. Gilyard was convicted in of lewd and lascivious molestation of two other teenage girls, both under 16, while pastoring a Florida church.
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He found work at an SBC church after his three-year prison sentence, prompting the local Southern Baptist association to end its affiliation. Thigpen said of Vines in a recent interview: "You left this little sheep to get hurt and then you protected yourself. And I hope when you lay your head on your pillow you think of every girl Gilyard hurt and life he ruined. And I hope you can't sleep. Patterson and Vines did not respond to requests for comment.
Heath Lambert, now senior pastor at First Baptist in Jacksonville, said in a statement that "we decry any act of violence or abuse. Last year, Patterson was ousted as head of a Fort Worth seminary for his mishandling of reports of rapes made by female students. Defensive responses from church leaders rank among the worst things the abused can endure, says Harvey Rosenstock, a Houston psychiatrist who has worked for decades with victims and perpetrators of clergy sexual abuse.
They can rewire a developing brain to forever associate faith or authority with trauma or betrayal, he says. This man is speaking with the voice of God. So a person who is not only an authority figure, but God's servant, is telling you this is between us, this is a special relationship, this has been sanctioned by the Lord. That allows a young victim to have almost zero defenses. Totally vulnerable. Rosenstock is among a growing number of expert clinicians who advocate for changes in statute of limitations laws in sexual abuse cases.
They cite decades of neuroscience to show that those abused as children — particularly by clergy — can develop a sort of Stockholm syndrome that prevents them for decades from recognizing themselves as victims. Houston psychiatrist Harvey Rosenstock explains the devastation of a child being abused by a religious leader. An athletic child with an incarcerated father, Pittman said he had dreamed about joining the youth group at his church near Atlanta since he was baptized there at age 8. There, he could play any sport he wanted, and at 12 he found in the youth pastor a much-sought father figure.
The grooming started almost immediately, he said: front-seat rides in the youth pastor's Camaro; trips to see the Doobie Brothers and Kansas in concert; and, eventually, sleepovers during which Pittman said he was first molested. Pittman said the assaults continued until he turned 15 and the youth pastor quietly moved to a new church nearby. Three decades later, in , Pittman learned that his alleged abuser was working as a youth minister in Georgia.
Though Georgia's statute of limitations had by then elapsed, Pittman and others came forward with allegations. Like Pittman, Ray Harrell grew up without a male figure in his life. His father left early, he said, and his mother later "threw herself" into the church.
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Eventually the youth minister started babysitting Harrell, then a pre-teen. Harrell still remembers the minister's stuffed monkey, which was used to "break the ice," he said. I knew it was wrong, but this is somebody I was supposed to believe in, to look up to, who was in the church. The deacon said in an interview that he confronted the youth minister and "asked him if there had ever been anything in his past and he acknowledged that there had been.
The youth minister resigned, after which the deacon and others began looking through a Myspace account that he had while employed at the church. On it, the deacon found messages "that the police should have," he said. The deacon said he provided the Georgia State Baptist Convention with evidence that the youth minister should be barred from working in churches. The church's lead pastor declined to say if he was ever made aware of the allegations, though Pittman provided emails that show he reached out to the pastor repeatedly. The youth minister did not return phone calls.
Reached by email, he declined to be interviewed.
The newspapers are not identifying him because he has not been charged. Anne Marie Miller says she, too, has been denied justice. In July, Mark Aderholt, a former employee of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and a former missionary, was charged in Tarrant County with sexually assaulting Miller in the late s, when she was a teenager. Texas eliminated its statute of limitations for most sex crimes against children in In , Miller told the SBC's International Mission Board about Aderholt after he was hired there, prompting an internal investigation that officials said supported her story.
Actual Cases - Child Predator
Aderholt resigned and worked at SBC churches in Arkansas before moving to South Carolina, where he worked for the state's Baptist convention. Miller, meanwhile, was told to "let it go" when she asked mission board officials about the investigation. After Aderholt's arrest, a mission board spokeswoman said it did not notify his future SBC employers about the allegations in because of local church autonomy. The board also said that Miller at the time did not want to talk with police.
She says that was because she was still traumatized.