Sources say that the men’s legal action – reportedly the first of its kind against the Baptist church in Britain – could cost the church millions of pounds.
The accused minister, Robert Dando, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in Virginia. He was jailed there in 2011 for molesting two boys when Dando was in the U.S. on a missions trip.
In Britain, Dando was the senior minister at Worcester Park Baptist Church in southwest London, and previously at Orchard Baptist Church in Oxfordshire.
The allegations against Dando include “multiple rapes and serious sexual assaults.”
Dando was closely connected to the highest levels of Baptist worldwide leadership. He previously served as executive assistant to the president of the Baptist World Alliance.
One of Dando’s churches was previously involved in another child sex scandal when the leader of the church was convicted of serious sex offenses against a 14-year-old boy. At the time, Dando told the press, “All our youth work is carried out within proper guidelines.” Yet, we now know that Dando, too, was sexually abusing kids.
Dando had plenty of access to kids. His wife was a national vice-president of the Boys’ Brigade, a Christian youth organization with more than 500,000 members in 60 countries. Dando also worked for a children’s charity in India. And he previously worked as a magistrate on a family court panel which dealt with child care and child access proceedings.
It’s terrible to imagine how many kids a wide-ranging pastor like Dando could have sexually traumatized. Baptists ought to be making a broad public outreach effort -- in India, in the U.S., in Britain, and anywhere else he traveled -- to try to minister to those kids, provide them with independent counseling, and help them. But of course, we haven’t seen anything like that. Instead, the Baptist way seems based on simply letting the children suffer and suffer and suffer.
Update: Jailed minister accused of abuse in UK, ABP, 5/1/2013 (naming other churches where Dando worked)
He was a Baptist pastor, not a priest, 11/11/2010