Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pastor told investigators "he was aware"

A reader recently sent me an article with these comments:

“My childhood church had a young man who volunteered for years with AWANA and the youth group. I had also heard from adults that he was so wonderful to be a ‘father figure’ to several boys in the church whose parents were divorced. You can guess the result – he was eventually found out to be molesting these boys, and one case went to court.

Several of the boys he was close to seemed to develop some problems and disappeared from town.  I am pretty sure that there must have been many more victims. He was described in the paper as volunteering for ‘several years’ with youth and children, but I was in that church back in the mid-nineties and he didn't get prosecuted till 2005, so it was at least 10 years. He was basically a volunteer youth and children minister, extremely active in the ministries. He starred in the children's musical I was in . . . .  Knowing that there must have been more victims, I think it would be helpful to post this . . . . ”

I agree. So I’m posting this excerpt from a front-page article that was in the Daily News of Northwest Florida on November 5, 2005.

Church volunteer charged with molesting boy:
Investigators say Rocky Bayou Baptist Church has been aware of complaints for a few years

 “A Valparaiso man has been charged with molesting a boy for years whom he had met as a church youth volunteer, and investigators suspect more victims will surface.

Robert Thomas Jenkins-Hayes
“Robert “Robbie” Thomas Jenkins-Hayes, 42, is being held at Okaloosa County Jail on $350,000 bond for lewd and lascivious molestation, according to a Valparaiso Police Department arrest report. He’s been a volunteer with the AWANA program for youth at Rocky Bayou Baptist Church in Niceville for several years . . . .

“The Valparaiso Police launched an investigation after a 15-year-old boy came forward with allegations against Jenkins-Hayes, who was arrested Wednesday. But investigators say the church has been aware of complaints against Jenkins-Hayes for a few years.

“It has never been officially reported,” said Valparaiso Capt. Christy Goldsmith.

“Rocky Bayou’s senior pastor, Dale Julio, told investigators he was aware of instances when Jenkins-Hayes kissed boys on the lips and embraced them for too long, according to the report.”
Rocky Bayou Baptist Church in Niceville, Florida, is shown as being affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Why should anyone be surprised by this keep-it-quiet pattern in the churches when high Southern Baptist officials have set the example with a stubborn and reckless entrenchment in denominational do-nothingness on clergy sex abuse?