A Bedford church that employed a man despite accusations in Alabama that he’d raped and sodomized a 14-year-old girl while a youth pastor is among the churches that should be investigated, according to the Southern Baptist Convention leader.
In remarks made to the SBC’s Executive Committee in Nashville on Monday, SBC President J.D. Greear said 10 churches, including First Baptist Church in Bedford, must give assurance that they’ve corrected their policies and procedures with regard to “abuse and care for survivors”.
The Bedford church came under criticism in 2015 after news reports that former pastor Steve Knott had hired Charles Kyle Adcock despite pending rape and sodomy charges in Alabama.
Knott is now pastor of the First Baptist Church in Giddings. He did not return an email or phone message seeking comment.
The current pastor, Billy Taylor, said he would release a statement later Tuesday.
Adcock had worked as a youth pastor at a Muscle Shoals church when he sexually abused a girl in the youth group over a two-year period beginning when she was 14. He was subsequently indicted on 29 counts of rape and sodomy of an underage child.
Adcock was free on bond and living in Texas when Knott hired him to lead the adult choir and work with the church’s audio/video equipment, news reports stated.
Set to go to trial, Adcock instead pleaded guilty in January 2016 to one of the sodomy counts in exchange for a 10-year prison sentence.
Greear’s remarks came in the wake of an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News that found that since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct involving more than 700 victims.
In his remarks, Greear urged an administrative committee to determine whether the Bedford church and nine other churches in Texas, Georgia, Kentucky and Arkansas “meet the standards of having a faith and practice” that align with the SBC Constitution.
Other Texas churches singled out by Greear included the Arapaho Baptist Church in Garland; the Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, and three churches in Houston: Brentwood Baptist, Cathedral of Faith and Second Baptist Church.
Greear said “any other churches that receive similar allegations” should also be reviewed.
Greear said he is not calling for the “disfellowshipping” of any of the churches at this point, “but these churches must be called upon to give assurance to the SBC that they have taken the necessary steps to correct their policies and procedures with regards to abuse and care for survivors.”