Missouri Baptist trustee tussle returns spotlight to old allegations of mishandled abuse

Advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse criticized the Missouri Baptist Convention for electing a university trustee accused in 2005 of not cooperating with police in what media at the time described as Missouri’s biggest clergy sex-abuse case to date.

The Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests and the For Such A Time As This Rally announced Wednesday they will urge Missouri’s attorney general to launch a statewide investigation into Baptist child sex crimes and cover ups similar to one conducted last year involving the state’s four Roman Catholic dioceses.

Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, announced Feb. 24 that trustees will launch their own investigation into whether a newly elected trustee “imposed” on the university by the Missouri affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention mishandled child sexual abuse allegations against one of his staff members in 2005.

The university did not identify the trustee, but For Such A Time As This, a #MeToo-type movement launched in 2018 to draw attention to sexual abuse and domestic violence in the Southern Baptist Convention, last week criticized the installation of Mike Roy, lead pastor of Pathway Church in Raymore, Missouri, to the Southwest Baptist University board of trustees.

In 2003 Roy hired Shawn Davies, a former classmate at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary he met in 1998, to lead music at First Baptist Church in Greenwood, Missouri, near Kansas City. Two years later Davies pleaded guilty to 27 counts of statutory sodomy, furnishing pornographic material to minors, supplying liquor to minors, sexual misconduct with a child under the age of 14, use of a child in sexual performance and endangering the welfare of a child.

Davies, recently released from prison and registered as a sex offender listed by the Stone County Sheriff’s Office as living in Reed Springs, Missouri, was already under investigation for similar crimes in Kentucky after a boy told police in 2001 that his youth minster showed him pornographic movies in either 1998 or 1999.

After leaving the small Kentucky church, which authorities declined to name to protect the privacy of victims, Davies reportedly worked at First Baptist Church of Ferguson, Missouri, in suburban St. Louis before finally landing at First Baptist Church in Greenwood.

News outlets including Associated Baptist Press, forerunner to Baptist News Global, quoted a detective as saying police faced setbacks in their nine-month investigation beca...

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