- Preacher molested “another” TX boy, DA says
- Minister pled guilty last week to molesting five kids
- Victims want Dallas church officials to “seek out others”
- Group says most Baptists are “very irresponsible” in child sex cases
- And it believes “more TX victims are still suffering in silence & shame”
- SNAP urges ex-Prestonwood staff and members to call law enforcement
As congregants come to church, clergy sex abuse victims will hold signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference. They will disclose that a prosecutor says a former Dallas minister – who pled guilty last week to child sex crimes in Mississippi – also molested “another boy” in Texas. The victims will urge:
--current and former Prestonwood Baptist staff to report what they “know or suspect” about the preacher’s crimes to law enforcement, and
--anyone who was hurt by the minister to “step forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.”
-- area ministerial alliances and boards and other bodies – especially Baptists - to “break the long-standing, unhealthy climate of secrecy” about Protestant clergy sex crimes so that future child sex cases and cover ups might be prevented.
And they will hand out copies of a nine page court document that details the clergyman’s crimes.
Saturday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m.
Outside Prestonwood Baptist Church, 6801 W. Park Blvd., in Plano, TX
Six-eight victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Houston woman who once worked with the predator
Last week, Rev. John Langworthy, who worked in Dallas for five years, pleaded guilty to eight charges of felony “gratification of lust.” He sexually abused five boys in Hinds County Mississippi between 1980 and 1984.
However, the prosecutor also disclosed that Langworthy molested “another boy in the 1980s while the boy attended Prestonwood Baptist Church." This revelation is the first time any law enforcement official publicly acknowledged that Langworthy had committed crimes in Texas.
However, in August 2011, from his pulpit in Mississippi, Langworthy admitted “ungodly sexual indiscretions with younger males” while he worked at Prestonwood.
Last week, Langworthy received a 50 year suspended sentence, so he will not be imprisoned. SNAP is concerned that he may violate his restrictions and hurt other kids. The group also worries that some of Langworthy’s victims in Dallas have never gotten help or reported their abuse.
So SNAP wants church officials to use the Prestonwood website and mailings to reach out to others who may have been injured by Langworthy. Langworthy might still be prosecuted in Dallas, SNAP believes, if enough victims step forward.
Two current Prestonwood staff - head pastor Dr. Jack Graham (972-820-5000) and associate pastor Neal Jeffrey (972-820-5000) – were at the church when Langworthy worked there (between 1984-1989). Graham is the past president of the national Southern Baptist Convention.
From 1990 to 2011, Langworthy worked at Morrison Heights Baptist Church (601-924-5620) in Clinton, Mississippi. He also worked taught music in Clinton schools from 1989 until his arrest in 2011. Langworthy also worked at two Jackson, Mississippi Baptist churches between 1980-84 while he was attending Mississippi College.
(From 1984 to 1989, Langworthy worked at Prestonwood’s main church, which was then at the corner of Hillcrest and Arapaho in Dallas. It later opened a Plano location at 6801 W. Park Blvd.)
The prosecutor who pursued Langworthy is Jamie McBride (601-968-6568) and Langworthy’s defense lawyer is Jeffrey Rimes (firstname.lastname@example.org, 601-898-8400).
SNAP knows of no civil lawsuits against Langworthy at this time.
The Mississippi court records show that Langworthy began molesting kids when he was 20. One of his victims was six years old.