DALLAS (ABP) -- A recent sex scandal involving two North Texas pastors and the women who accused them of molestation is unusual because the victims -- by now beyond the statute of limitations for sex-abuse cases -- urged authorities and media to publish their names in conjunction with the case.
Typically, the names of sex-abuse victims are not publicized in an effort to spare the victim more emotional trauma. But Katherine Roush and Debbie Vasquez agreed to be identified in order to call attention to an increasingly prominent scathe of clergy sex-abuse cases in Baptist churches.
Larry Reynolds of Southmont Baptist Church in Denton, Texas, and Dale Amyx of Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas, were accused in separate civil lawsuits of molesting Roush and Vasquez, respectively, during counseling sessions when the girls were 14 years old. The abuse continued for several years, according to charges.
Had the women, now adults, reported the molestation at the time of the crime, each man could have faced first-degree felony charges. In juvenile cases, victims can report a crime until 10 years after their 18th birthday.
Instead of the possible life sentence that would have gone with his felony charge, Reynolds issued an apology at a church Thanksgiving banquet as part of a settlement agreement. His suit was settled out of court. Vasquez's lawsuit has yet to be resolved.
Sex-abuse charges like the ones in North Texas have become increasingly common, with cases in Missouri, Kentucky and Florida making regional and national news. And some experts have said Baptist churches may be particularly vulnerable to this kind of abuse.
Inappropriate behavior by clergy cuts across all denominational ties and theological positions, ethicist Joe Trull said. But he says a case can be made that "nondenominational churches and Baptist churches who have autonomous church government are more vulnerable and susceptible" to instances of sexual abuse....
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THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Sex-abuse cuts across all denominational lines, and according to insurance agencies, the problem is a little bigger in Protestant churches than it is in the Catholic Church. But before you assume this is a religious problem, you had better take a closer look. A recent study by the US government found that a child is more than 100 times more likely to be molested in a public school than in a Catholic or Protestant church (read more here). So when the facts and figures are reported correctly (something the mainstream news media consistently avoids) we get a completely different picture. Sexual abuse of minors is not a "Catholic problem," nor is it a "Protestant problem." Sexual abuse of minors is an AMERICAN PROBLEM, which infects virtually every aspect of America's public service to families and children. If anything, when one takes into account the data compiled on public schools, we find that the problem is significantly lower in religious institutions like Catholic and Protestant churches. That's the real story here. In the media's zealous effort to smear religious institutions with sex-abuse scandals, they intentionally avoid reporting the real problem - which is the overwhelming sexual abuse of minors in our nation's public schools.