Man featured in Star-Telegram sexual abuse investigation of IFB churches arrested

A man featured in a Star-Telegram investigation that found hundreds of cases of sexual abuse within independent fundamental Baptist churches has been arrested on a slew of charges related to allegations dating to 1990, according to court records.

Laverne Paul Fox, 60, was the principal of Faith Baptist Church’s affiliated school in Wildomar, California.

After his accuser, Kathy Durbin, told pastor Bruce Goddard in 1992 about the sexual abuse and grooming she faced over a span of two years by Fox, Goddard moved Fox to First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.

Fox was arrested on July 1 in Erie, Pennsylvania, by State Police. He will be extradited to California, where he has been charged with two counts of lewd acts with a child and two other sexual misconduct charges.

Arrest warrants for Fox couldn’t be provided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office and weren’t immediately available on Wednesday.

His bail was set to $20,000.

Allegations against Fox

Durbin told the Star-Telegram that Fox began grooming her for sex at a young age. In public Facebook posts, she wrote how she thought she had a father-daughter type relationship with Fox.

She realized later that was part of the grooming, she wrote. Fox began having sex with her when she was 15.

During the 1992 conversation with Goddard, Durbin said she dramatically told him that Fox and her had kissed so he would know something more was happening. She was disturbed and confused by the encounters.

Durbin was later forced to attend counseling and write an apology to Fox’s wife.

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Nichole Manna is an investigative reporter for the Star-Telegram. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she covered crime and breaking news in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska and Kansas. She is a 2012 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and grew up in Florida.