According to Columbia Missourian, several Midwest Baptist pastors were included on the recently released list from the Southern Baptist Convention. An SBC staffer began compiling a list of accused pastors and church employees in 2007. However, until now, the list was kept from both the public and other Southern Baptist leaders.
At least eight of those credibly accused of sex abuse were from Missouri. Many of the accused dates back as far as 2000. However, two recently accused included Dale Gregory Johnson and Travis Smith.
Dale Gregory Johnson was the former youth director at Columbia's Parkade Baptist Church located at 2102 N Garth Ave, Columbia, MO 65202. In 2016, Johnson pleaded guilty to counts of sodomy and child pornography.
Travis Smith was most recently the pastor for First Baptist Church in Stover, located at 102 Cherry St, Stover, MO 65078. He also served as a youth pastor at Pilot Grove Baptist Church. His charges included statutory rape and others stemming from multiple victims in 2016.
Attorney contributor Ryan Frazier is an experienced attorney representing church sex abuse victims in Missouri. As a lawyer for church sex abuse, he represents victims abused in the Baptist church.
"Churches of all denominations, including Baptist churches, are obligated by law to maintain the safety of their congregation. A pastor's position earns the trust and respect of their community and the members of their church. Recently reports have outed pastors and other clergy members who have been accused of sexual abuse. Religious institutions, particularly Baptist churches, must do everything possible to prevent clergy abuse. Background checks, security surveillance systems on church property, and an investigation into any allegations of misbehavior are all ways to reduce the risk of preventable abuse."
"Too often, abuse occurs as a result of the church's and its leaders' negligence. If they were aware of misconduct by pastors or other church employees but chose to ignore them, this is an example of negligence that may have allowed the abuse to continue. Victims of church sexual abuse should know they may be able to file a civil action against a negligent church. Church sex abuse victims and their families should speak with an experienced sexual abuse attorney to learn more about any options available for seeking the justice they deserve."