A Southern Baptist Megachurch 03/11/2013

By Bob Allen
Church calls the police on an inquiring member.

A Texas church has shunned a layman trying to get to the bottom of an alleged cover up of sexual abuse decades ago.

A Southern Baptist megachurch reportedly filed a police report on a church member who raised questions about news stories alleging that nearly 25 years ago leaders of the congregation failed to alert authorities about credible accusations of child molestation by a staff member.

Chris Tynes, a software engineer and member of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, for more than a decade, says he spoke with a detective about a complaint labeling him a “suspicious person, possibly violent” after he was ordered by security personnel to leave the church premises March 5.

Chris Tynes wrote an article about Catholic sex-abuse and someone responded by pointing him to a website that aggregates news links about clergy sexual abuse in Baptist churches. There he found articles mentioning his own congregation’s alleged non-reporting of a former music minister convicted in Mississippi who avoided prison in part because it took so long for allegations against him to be brought to light.

Tynes couldn’t find anything about it on the church website, so he sought answers on Prestonwood’s Facebook page. He linked to a story in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger about John Langworthy, 50, a former staff member at Prestonwood who pleaded guilty in January to molesting multiple boys in Mississippi in the early 1980s.

“Prestonwood Baptist doesn't call the cops on the molester, but they call the cops on the church member who asks questions about the molester” the FBC Jax Watchdogs reported.

Tynes said he still wants to think the best about Pastor Jack Graham, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention who baptized his oldest son, but he is having a hard time understanding the church’s response.

“I still want to believe that he’s a good guy and really wants to do the right thing,” he said. “I don’t know how to reconcile it for now, but I haven’t gotten to the point where I think differently about that.”

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