Monday, March 15, 2010

"Village Rapist" was minister sponsored by FBC-Dallas

In 1988, Southern Baptist minister Gregory Charles Goben was linked to a series of sexual attacks in the North Dallas area.

In many of the attacks, the man broke into a victim’s apartment, tied the victim’s hands with a belt or other article of clothing, and raped her while he wore a ski mask.

He was referred to as the “Village Rapist,” based on the apartment complexes he targeted. For several years, his crimes terrorized women who lived in the area.

When he was finally caught, Goben pled guilty to five charges of burglary and five charges of aggravated sexual assault. As part of the plea agreement, he also admitted to six additional sexual assaults.

Someone recently sent me a couple sentences about the Goben case, and it caught my attention because I remembered hearing about the “Village Rapist” years ago. But I didn’t remember that the man was a Southern Baptist minister. So I decided to pull up a couple old news articles about the case.

Lo and behold, not only was the “Village Rapist” a Southern Baptist minister, but he was a minister connected to one of the most prominent Southern Baptist churches in the country -- First Baptist Church of Dallas.

Goben was the pastor of a suburban mission church sponsored by FBC-Dallas, and FBC-Dallas provided the funds for Goben’s salary.

So, by day, Goben was a Baptist pastor with a wife and two children, but by night, he was a notorious serial rapist.

All of this came to light in the summer of 1988.

That was about the same time period when officials at First Baptist of Dallas were also promoting a troublesome pastor named Darrell Gilyard.

Gilyard was considered a “rising star” and he was mentored by former Southern Baptist president Paige Patterson who, at that time, was president of Criswell College, a school affiliated with and located on the premises of First Baptist Church of Dallas.

In 1987, Gilyard left Dallas’ Concord Missionary Baptist Church in the face of 25 abuse accusations. But Paige Patterson and other FBC-Dallas officials didn’t think those 25 women’s voices were enough evidence, and they continued to recommend Gilyard.

So, Gilyard moved through 4 churches in 4 years, and continued to gather more and more abuse and assault allegations.

Some of the accusations came from Criswell College students – young women who were under Patterson’s charge. But as one woman told the Dallas Morning News, Patterson said “to refrain from speaking about it.”

By the time Gilyard left Dallas’ Victory Baptist Church in 1991, at least 42 known women had reported him to Baptist officials, alleging sexual abuse, assault and rape. But no one took action to remove Gilyard from ministry or to warn people in the pews.

Gilyard moved on to a church in Florida, and in 2009, he was convicted on child sex crimes and put in prison.

It makes me weep to imagine how many women and girls may have been wounded by this man during the years between 1987 and 2009, because Baptist officials turned a deaf ear. It is impossible to look at those Dallas Morning News articles and not see the terrible pattern of denial and victim-blaming that officials at First Baptist of Dallas engaged in.

But here’s the thing that now shocks me the most in this whole sordid saga. Why didn’t Paige Patterson and First Baptist of Dallas officials learn something from their experience with the “Village Rapist”?

Why didn’t their 1988 experience with the “Village Rapist” compel Paige Patterson and FBC-Dallas officials to do a better job of dealing with Darrell Gilyard in 1989, 1990 and 1991?

The “Village Rapist” turned out to be one of their own ministers. Surely they were shocked. But shouldn’t that experience have taught them the terrible truth that ministers can sometimes wear masks?

Yet, in the years immediately after that, Baptist officials still refused to see the mask of pastor Darrell Gilyard. Despite literally dozens of sexual abuse and assault reports, they allowed Gilyard to move from church to church with ease . . . and no one treated the allegations seriously.

Apparently, FBC-Dallas officials learned nothing from their experience with the “Village Rapist.”

And to this day, we have no reason to believe they learned anything from their experience with Darrell Gilyard either.

The photo is the neon sign of First Baptist Church of Dallas.


Jim said...

That same FBC Dallas is now preparing to spend more than $140,000,000 in a building campaign in order to have a "stronger witness for Christ" in downtown Dallas. Perhaps the strongest "witness" the church could have would be to admit to sheltering and protecting proven clergy sex abusers; then build and staff a treatment center for victims of such crimes. Don't hold your breath for that, however. The good folks at FBC need to "keep up with the Jones' or in this case, the Young's," in order to reclaim the crown of the "Best and Biggest Worship House in Texas." This building campaign reminds me of Jesus teaching about the whitewashed tombs in Matthew 23:27, "which appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness." God have mercy!

Christa Brown said...

"Perhaps the strongest 'witness' the church could have would be to admit to sheltering and protecting proven clergy sex abusers..."

From time to time, people want to talk to me about "reconciliation," but what I almost always say is that I think "reconciliation" needs to begin with truth-telling and truth-hearing. The problem for Baptist leaders is that truth-telling would implicate so many of them -- not just perpetrators, but perhaps even more importantly, the countless others who have covered up for the perpetrators.

Anonymous said...

You know in the Torah the owner was also held in liability if it was their ox that gorded their neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Christa, there can be NO reconciliation until truth is told and admitted. They sell you a crock of twisted scripture.

They only know how to hide such things and cry that victims are unforgiving when it comes out.

It is all about image, power, donor money and their paychecks.

Straight Path said...


Hello. I have never posted on your blog before. I just wanted to let you know that my twin sister and I deeply sympathize with your situation. We live in Texas and have never had any type of sexual abuse happen to us. However, your situation is SO revolting. It is truly stunning at what double lives these "ministers" live.

Btw, NASS of New BBC Open Forum refused to allow me to post on her blog a couple of times last year. She writes GO AWAY and then accuses me of being a man named Charles Page. In case you saw her do this, I can assure you, I am NOT Charles Page.

However, I did live in TN in 1988/89 but visited relatives for about 6 months in Dallas. I went on the singles ski trip to Keystone with FBC Dallas in March of 1989. We had fun.

I was obviously in Dallas when Gregory Goben was caught. However, I do recall his name and I asked my sister today and she doesn't remember his name either. I THINK THE VILLAGE is a very large apartment complex that has MANY tennis courts.

One sexual predator I had heard of before was Gilbert Esconbedo (the Dallas ski mask rapist). My understanding is that Gilbert "befriended" one of his rape victims and they started attending Prestonwood Baptist Church together. She did not know that he was her rapist so she went into business with him. It looks like Gilbert might be up for parole.

I really loved Wally Amos Criswell, the former pastor of FBC Dallas. I knew that FBC Dallas had really declined after Dr. Criswell was no longer in the pulpit. However, I wasn't cognizant the decline began as early as 1988. IMO, FBC was a great church when I visited during 1988/89.

I always thought the descent began when Joel Gregory arrived at FBC. Insiders informed me that Gregory was in an adulterous relationship when he came to FBC.

When Dr. Criswell died, I phoned VIEWERS VOICE (Fox News in Dallas) and left a message. I stated what an asset W.A. Criswell was to Dallas and that he never forgot "the church is the people, not a building." They aired my words on their next broadcast.

After 12 years of membership at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, I unfortunately experienced firsthand what it was like to have a pastor (Adrian Rogers) that went off on a tangent - A BUILDING. Dr. Criswell NEVER did that. What a sweet man he was.

God bless you Christa. We love and care about you.

Renae said...

W.A. Criswell had enough skeletons in his closet to outfit every Dallas school with their own model for science class. One man doesn't come in and ruin it all - the whole culture of patriarchal power in leadership creates and covers up the problem.

Straight Path said...


This is a book detailing the sordid world of Gilbert Escobedo. He confessed to 48 rapes in Dallas between 1985 and 1990. He also claimed to be a Christian man who witnessed to others and read the Bible.

Trespasses: Portrait of a Serial Rapist

Christa Brown said...

StraightPath: Welcome to the blog. Regarding Joel Gregory, I just want to say that, to my best knowledge, he himself always described the talk as "rumors of affairs."

Renae: I agree that it's about "a whole culture" of power and privilege that fosters this problem and covers it up. And "skeletons" ... oh my ... based on the stories I hear, there are a whole heap of high-n-mighties out there with a whole heap of "skeletons." But of course, those high-n-mighties have bullied, shamed and intimidated people, pressured people into signing secrecy agreements, and essentially severed the vocal cords of their "skeletons." I figure that's at least part of the reason why Baptist leaders don't want to create a "safe" place for people to report abuse. They don't want all the stories of abuse and cover-up coming out . . . because too many of THEM would be implicated in stories of cover-ups.

Renae said...


I think you are exactly right - and I think it's no small part of the reason. I'd venture to guess (and it's not a completely uneducated guess) that 80-90% of the Baptist leadership either HAS a skeleton or knows well someone else who does. And no, they absolutely don't want that stuff to start coming out. Some of it is abuse, some of it is collusion, some of it is sheer mismanagement and irresponsibility, some of it is immorality and lack of integrity of other sorts. They want to be seen as powerful and PERFECT and they don't want anything to sully that image. Keep pulling at the threads - one of these days it's all going to unravel.

Anonymous said...

straight path,

Did you buy one of the Criswell busts for your living room? He literally sold busts of his head!

Talk about ego. He did talk a good game, though.

John said...

The bottom line: THEY JUST DO NOT CARE!!!!!

Straight Path said...


Thanks for the welcome.

A man that was on the pastor search committee at FBC-Dallas gave me the information I posted about Joel Gregory. That was a good while back. I did not know Joel Gregory and never heard him preach. He has been divorced twice now I see which is odd for a Southern Baptist minister. These men usually try to fake a good marriage if nothing else.

The pastor who followed Dr. Gregory, O.S. Hawkins, made these comments at Liberty University:

"When I came to pastor the First Baptist Church of Dallas, I found Dr. Criswell was the same Christian gentleman I'd heard he was. The pastor who followed him didn't have the character to follow him so he collapsed. In his moral failure, which he chose himself to do, he attacked the church, Dr. Criswell and others. Not all who preach Christ, live like him."

Regarding the article you posted, Dr. Gregory's concept of "different view of grace" is what I would just label LOWER MORALS. The Bible says, "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16.

I can't imagine ever being a Southern Baptist now. The congregants are self-centered, worldly, phony wimps and their ministers are egotistical, controlling, selfish DOLTS.

Straight Path said...

P.S. Today, most Southern Baptist ministers should be in prison. Take Paul Williams for example. He is a former minister of Bellevue Baptist Church.

The scan here is from a 1990 Paul Williams commentary. He admonishes congregants to mature in Christ. This man had been RAPING HIS OWN SON! This is unconscionable! What a lying phony! He is a CRIMINAL!

However, you can certainly thank the demons in Steve and Donna Gaines for keeping creeps like this in the ministry and around children. The Gaines should be in prison also. They should certainly STEP DOWN. Bellevue will continue to have a "curse" on it while they are in leadership.

Adrian Rogers measured success by numbers. However, God doesn't.

Tiffany Croft said...

The punches just keep rolling don't they? I am just reading this post for the first time and I cannot help but feel the punch in the gut...the wind knocked out again. Such a horrible thing was known, and it happens again the next year and they look away?
It is sooo frustrating and heartbreaking to continue to find out just how deep this cavernous sinkhole of sickness runs.
In regards to the sheer numbers of sexual predators there are within our religious institutions, vacuuming in so many victims along the way. These supposed safe places - are filled with perverse minded people, using their positions to victimize.
And what is worse, so much worse, is the lack of "a few good men" to properly deal with them. It is NOT ENOUGH to remove them from a pulpit - notice I said "a" pulpit....because they always move on to another, ALWAYS! And because the alarm was not sounded, they continue to victimize.
There is literally no way to stomach this, it is impossible to turn a blind do we not suffocate on this dread and sorrow?
I grieve already for the victims to come, not to mention so many that are living in a private hell because they cannot trust their leaders to care for them, or to shepherd them. They have been vicitmized and are told to "keep quiet" - made to feel guilty that they might create a scandal. That is so sick and twisted. The scandal IS THE SILENCE, the Biblical thing would be to confront the sin and deal with it. Not to hide it or cover it up, and certainly not to promote the predator. How God must feel...yet He knew this before time began.

1 Peter 2:16
"Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God."
3:17 " this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."
4:17 "For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"