I just love how you put pictures of people on your website and almost guarantee their destruction. "Credible allegations" are not truth. I could probably find someone to "credibly" accuse you of murder....I think any real predators should be destroyed, and I equally think that anyone that would falsely accuse or label an innocent person a predator is just as bad as the predator. In fact, the person that does this is just a predator of a different type. You need to be stopped. I’m afraid any good you might be doing is being overshadowed by the harm to innocents. Your treatment of a good and innocent friend of mine is shameful. You have destroyed his career and reputation and continue to pound on him. I bet you do not sleep well at night, Trust me, it is not because of what happened to you or other victims, it is the incredible guilt that even your small conscience must feel by knowing that you will destroy a person's life with no facts at all....This is between you and me. Do not publish this….Based on his prior comments, I think this guy's upset that I recently posted on my website a photo of Larry Reynolds with a Denton Record-Chronicle news link. Reynolds was pastor of Southmont Baptist Church in Denton, TX. Katherine Roush sued Reynolds, alleging he had molested her when she was a 14-year old girl. Reportedly, the suit was settled with a confidentiality agreement (a secrecy tactic that Catholic bishops formally disapproved in 2002 but Baptists still use) and with Reynolds making an apology before the church. He said “I made a terrible mistake” and confessed that “proper boundaries were not kept.”
Ordinarily, that might have quietly brought an end to the matter, but when EthicsDaily and the Chronicle began looking into it, things got messy. Another Southmont minister, James Crittenden, told the Chronicle it would be destructive to “the cause of Christ” to publish the news. Thank God for courageous and conscientious journalists. Reynolds resigned after the press coverage.
The Southmont story provides a good example of why it’s so delusional for Southern Baptist officials to think churches can handle clergy abuse reports on their own. We’re supposed to imagine that someone like Katherine Roush could have simply gone to a church like Southmont and said, “I need to tell you about what your beloved pastor Reynolds did to me when I was a kid,” and that the church would have been receptive even though she is now an outsider to them, and that it would have compassionately and conscientiously considered her report with open minds.
Given that ministerial staff apparently didn’t inform the congregation even after a lawsuit was filed, and even after EthicsDaily published news of it, why should anyone assume the staff would have attempted to bring the truth to light based on Roush’s mere report? Given that minister Crittenden tried to convince the Chronicle not to run the story, why should we assume he would have shown any concern for ferreting out the truth of a report from Roush? Given the sort of hostility shown by Brian Robertson, why should we assume that congregants would have been able to objectively consider Roush's allegations (assuming staff had ever told the congregants)? Given that this church had a resource most don’t – a member who professes to be an expert on clergy sex abuse, Joe Trull – and yet church leaders apparently didn’t bother to consult with their expert, why should anyone assume that any other church would handle it any better than Southmont did? And given that, even after all that happened, Southmont gave Reynolds a $50,000 "love offering" upon his departure and still keeps one of its buildings named after Reynolds, why should we assume that, on its own, such a congregation would be capable of seeing such a possibly dark and ugly thing about a minister whom they so revered?
A person trying to report clergy sex abuse is often doing so many years after the abuse occurred. That’s what is normal because the nature of the crime causes victims to stay silent. (Cases that get reported sooner are atypical and are usually cases in which the victims’ parents found out.) It is unrealistic to imagine that, years later, a clergy abuse victim can go before a church as an outsider and tell them something so awful about their leader, and expect to be heard. Yet, victims need to be heard, because it’s the only way clergy-perpetrators can be exposed. This is why an independent objective review board is needed.
Such a board could also be a resource for congregations. It’s a shame the people of Southmont weren’t allowed to know every bit of available information. What was in the alleged letters from Reynolds to Roush? And what was in the medical records at Roush’s rehab center where witnesses say Reynolds made an appearance? I don’t know the answer to those questions. But I think the members at Southmont were entitled to know, and that’s information a denominational review board could have possibly given them. As it is, many at Southmont are left to wonder about what was true and what wasn’t, and about who was being straight with them and who wasn’t. Better to have the truth made transparent than to be left wondering.