According to Fort Worth Star-Telegram, former pastor Brian Pounds has been charged with sexually abusing two girls at the First Assembly of God in Vernon, located at 2430 Sand Rd, Vernon, TX 76384.
Police first learned of the alleged criminal activity of 45-year-old Brian Pounds on July 1, 2021. One of the victim's mothers called the police to report her 15-year-old daughter was missing. Police located Pounds at a local motel and, after searching the room, found evidence that the victim had been there. Police reports show that meth was also found in the room.
During an interview with the police, the victim alleged that Pounds had performed sex acts with her in addition to having her smoke meth in the hotel room. The victim was taken to the hospital for medical complications with the drugs that day. The victim and her family had initially reached out to Pounds for counseling through the church. Pounds even assisted the victim in getting a job cleaning houses for the elderly residents of the church. Allegedly the pastor would not only perform sexual acts on her at the church during the supposed counseling sessions, but he would also provide her with meth.
Pounds was arrested on charges of sexual assault of a child in addition to the delivery of a controlled substance to a minor. However, court documents show that during a phone conversation with his wife while in custody, Pounds admitted to sexually abusing an additional child.
The second victim, now 23 years olds, revealed to the investigator that she had been abused by Pounds at the church when she was only 15 years old. Allegedly the suspect would invite her to the church under the impression that a youth activity would be taking place, but when the victim would arrive, she was the only child there. According to the affidavit, Pounds would lock the door and force her to partake in sexual acts. At one point, she alleged that he put a gun to his head and threatened to kill them both if she told anyone about the abuse. The abuse carried on for approximately two years.
The suspect's wife first denied any knowledge of the abuse, but after police revealed the phone records, she admitted to being aware of texting between him and the victim. She continues to deny any knowledge of her husband's methamphetamine use or that he engaged in sexual acts with the victims.
The First Assembly of God website has removed Pound as the pastor. He is facing three more charges of sexual assault of a child in light of the second case.
Police are concerned there may be other victims and are asking for anyone with information to contact the Vernon Police Department.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan, an experienced sexual abuse attorney, represents victims of sexual abuse along with their families in civil lawsuits. During an interview, Marc shared some knowledge about the rights of victims sexually abused by a pastor.
Marc explained that "a church, or other religious institutes, has a legal obligation to maintain a level of safety for its members. It is not unheard of to find sexual predators in high positions at churches. They use their position of trust to exploit their victims. Unfortunately, this occurs across all ages and denominations within religious institutes. However, churches can be held as liable if they fail to do their best to prevent such predators from hurting the members of their congregation.”
"In some sexual abuse cases, the abuse occurs because the religious organization was negligent. One such example of this negligence would be if active clergy members had complaints against them for sexual misconduct, yet the organization ignored the allegations. In this case, the religious organization can be found negligent. Victims of sexual abuse and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit if a sexual abuse attorney can prove negligence."