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Pocomoke High School

Pocomoke High School, where Bayside Community Church holds services.

Pocomoke Youth Group Leader Faces Prison for Sex Abuse

Former Bayside Community Church youth group leader Rodney Harmon will face prison time after being convicted of sexually abusing several young boys who were under his supervision at the church. He could face up to 70 years, but the sentencing is currently deferred until the completion of a pre-sentencing investigation.

Court documents say that Harmon sexually abused at least 7 teenage boys who he met through working as a youth group leader at Bayside Community Church in Pocomoke City. The offenses took place between January and July of 2018.

The 34-year-old former pastor was convicted on three counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of displaying an obscene item to a minor.

Police began investigating Harmon in August of 2018 after the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of child sexual abuse. The Worcester County Child Advocacy Center and Child Protective Services then launched a joint investigation, which revealed that Harmon sexually abused several children while working as a youth pastor.

Legal Recourse for Church Sexual Abuse Survivors and Their Families

Attorney contributor Brian Kent of is a former sex crimes prosecutor who now represents survivors of sexual crimes in civil lawsuits. We’ve asked him to discuss the options for legal recourse available to survivors of sexual abuse in religious organizations:

With international sexual abuse scandals in organizations like the Catholic Church, Southern Baptists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, it should come as no surprise that sexual predators often seek out positions of authority and trust in religious communities. These communities must be aware of the threat of sexual predators and do all that they can to protect the members of their communities from sexual violence.

Religious organizations who cover up sexual abuse or enable it through negligence must be held accountable for the harm they’ve caused. Victims in several types of organizations have fought back by filing lawsuits against the organization for their negligent failure to keep their members safe. This helps demand accountability from these organizations, which can lead to changes that protect others from being abused in the future. These lawsuits also help provide financial compensation for the victims.

Have you or a loved one been sexually abused in a religious organization? We understand how painful this time has been for you and your family and we want to help. You can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.

Location of Bayside Community Church in Pocomoke City, MD

Legal Herald News

About Jeff Gibson

Attorney Contributor:

Jeff Gibson is a partner at Wagner Reese, an Indiana-based law firm that practices in the areas of Dram Shop liability, negligent security, and in the representation of survivors of child and adult sexual abuse.

This article was fact checked prior to publishing by this author to ensure compliance with our rigorous editorial standards. We will only use authoritative sources. Our values compel us to provide only trustworthy information. If you find an error, please contact us.

The local office of Wagner Reese is located at:
201 N. Illinois St. 16th Fl. South Tower, Indianapolis, IN 46204

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