According to KWTX, a pastor has been accused of sexually assaulting a teen while serving as the head pastor of Bible Baptist Church located at 2801 Iola Dr, Odessa, TX 79764.
On January 20, 2022, Aaron Shipman was arrested by the Odessa Police Department. His arrest was just days after an 18-year-old girl reported that he had sexually assaulted her. The victim alleged that the abuse occurred several times over the last two years, with the most recent incident occurring on January 16, 2022. She reported that he forced her to have intercourse with him as many as three times.
Amid the allegations, the church has terminated Shipman from his position as head pastor and banned him from the property.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan is an experienced lawyer for sexual abuse at church. He represents church sex abuse victims and their families in civil lawsuits. Recently, Marc explained some of the legal options available to church sex abuse victims, including when they can file a lawsuit.
"Unfortunately, sexual predators seek out positions of power and trust. Too often, this includes working as pastors, priests, and other religious members. Lately, we have seen widespread reports of members of religious organizations abusing their positions to sexually abuse members of the church. These incidents have occurred across a variety of religions and denominations."
"Churches and other religious organizations have a legal responsibility to do all they can to prevent this abuse from occurring. This may involve conducting background checks on all members, installing surveillance cameras on the property, and correctly reporting misconduct instances."
"When a pastor is accused of sexual abuse, a thorough investigation must follow. In addition to a criminal investigation of the perpetrator, the church should also be investigated for possible negligence. Many times, church sex abuse occurs due to the church failing to uphold its duty of care. A church can be found negligent by ignoring past reports of inappropriate behavior involving the pastor. In cases of negligence, church sex abuse victims may have grounds to file a lawsuit. Victims should employ the advice of an experienced church sex abuse attorney to explore their legal options fully."