These ‘men of God’ sexually abused children. Then they found refuge at other churches

Pastor Bruce Goddard acted immediately when he learned the principal at Faith Baptist Church’s school in Wildomar, California, had been intimately involved with a 17-year-old student.

He rented the 35-year-old principal a U-Haul and shipped him out of state. He did not call the police.

The accused wound up at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, a church affiliated with Goddard’s alma mater, working again with teenagers. The abused girl was later told that church officials in Indiana were aware of his involvement with her when he arrived.

An eight-month investigation by the Star-Telegram shows that what happened at Faith Baptist is just one example in a nationwide pattern of cover-ups and shuffling of suspected abusers among churches and universities that, like Faith Baptist, are part of the independent fundamental Baptist movement.

The cover-ups are reminiscent of the scandals of the Roman Catholic Church, but distinctly different.

Decisions in the Catholic Church are made within a hierarchical structure that governs all churches. Independent fundamental Baptist churches operate with no oversight or structure outside their own walls.

One thing does bind the churches that face abuse accusations: a culture that uses fear to control and gives men in po...

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