LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A lawsuit has been filed against the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) for reportedly not taking any steps to remove a Hot Springs pastor or prevent further sexual abuse to a teenage boy, who is the plaintiff in the case, alleging he was “repeatedly raped over a period of years” by the pastor.
The victim stated he met the pastor when he was 13 years old and shortly thereafter became a member of his church. Around 2016, the pastor became his legal guardian and he moved into the Millcreek parsonage to reside with the pastor.
The victim said the abuse began around the year 2014 and continued until July of 2018, two weeks before the pastor resigned from the position. The alleged abuse included multiple acts of sexual battery and involved “deviate sexual activity.”
The lawyer of the teenage boy alleges the pastor’s ex-wife explicitly warned the executive director of her ex-husband sexually abusing children.
The allegations state she witnessed him holding hands with minors, letting minors spend the night with him in the church, and reaching for the genitals of an underage boy spending the night in his home.
The plaintiff’s lawyer stated that not only did ABSC not act on the complaints, but several other organizations including the Millcreek Baptist Church, Diamond Lakes Baptist Association, and the Regional Baptist Association also did not take steps to prevent further sexual abuse.
ABSC released a statement concerning the lawsuit, stating: “These are serious allegations which the Arkansas Baptist State Convention is taking very seriously.”
Lawyers representing ABSC said there are no current criminal investigations pending or contemplated by local or state police in association with the teenage boy’s accusations.
ABSC also actively denied the allegations of the pastor’s ex-wife coming forward to the convention regarding the pastor’s sexual misconduct.
The organization also stated, “the plaintiff mistakenly believes that the Arkansas Baptist State Convention somehow controls the local church and should have been monitoring this local church pastor’s actions. In any event, the Convention has no responsibility in this case for his and/or the local church’s actions.”
The ABSC also stated their “high priority on ministry and safety for children and students.”
The victim is seeking over $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages against each defendant for intention and grossly reckless misconduct.