TN- Child sex case filed vs. Baptist Church
For immediate release: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
The First Baptist church of Bemis, near Jackson TN, is being sued for child sex crimes committed by one of its members (who is a convicted sex offender and who was arrested last year for stalking adults).
We praise the brave girl who is exposing those who committed and concealed these heinous crimes. When child sex crimes happen in churches, both the individuals who perpetrated the wrong and the individuals who enabled the wrong should be held responsible.
In 2006, Chad Lutrell, a church member, was reportedly kissing young girls and stalking and threatening adult women. In 2009, a ten year old girl, whose family belonged to the church, enrolled in the church's Bible camp. Despite the earlier reports of abuse, church officials let Lutrell work at the camp. That’s where he sexually abused the young girl.
The perpetrator pled guilty. He's now a registered sex offender. And he was arrested again last year for stalking adult women.
But current and former employees and members of First Baptist, we believe, should be punished for refusing to promptly call law enforcement with their suspicions of child sex crimes. Such punishment is perhaps the best way to deter such recklessness in the future.
We hope every individual who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes at First Baptist will find the courage and strength to speak up, protect kids, call police, get help, expose wrongdoers and start healing.
NOTE - The victim is represented by Ft. Lauderdale attorney Adam Horowitz.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)