MO - Abusive Baptist preacher goes on trial; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Monday, Dec. 2, 2013

David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])

At least four girls say Rev. Travis Smith of Stover (near Jefferson City) molested them. Smith goes on trial today. We hope his victims get justice and we hope Smith is convicted and imprisoned so that kids will be safer.

Shame on the misguided and reckless members of First Baptist Church of Stover who are choosing, despite four alleged victims and six felony charges, to keep Rev. Smith on the job. This is stunningly callous behavior. It’s also a severe misreading of the notion of forgiveness. We can forgive wrongdoers without putting others at risk.

Forgiveness is a private decision. Paying a credibly accused serial child molesting cleric is a public act, and one that is inexcusable. The two should never be confused.

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected])

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  • Rhonda Pitt
    commented 2013-12-05 01:52:55 -0600
    On a happier note, we settled out of court on May 17, 2013 in our case against Rev. Bill Little, formerly of Christ Memorial Baptist Church in Cool Valley, MO. Mediation proved to be a helpful way to obtain apologies from the pastor and the Board of Trustees who with the exception of one of the four blatantly refused to administer the funds to help provide counseling for victims of this serial clergy sexual offender. In the end the church donated $15,000 to a Baptist organization, the Churchnet, who are developing, with the help of a task force on which I serve, a program of education for pastors and other ministers regarding clergy sexual misconduct. They a are also focusing on offering counseling to adult victims of this behavior. The pastor resigned soon after our confrontation with him in May, 2010 and the church disbanded months later during the summer. The majority of the members were very supportive, but a few chose to support Mr. Little. We are still in communication with many church members and have begun to give them information regarding the settlement as we have continued to recover from a three year litigation process. We are enormously thankful for all of the help we received from SNAP. David Clohessy and Barbara Dorris were our first helpers, and then we found an entire community while attending the SNAP conference in Chicago over a year ago. Thank you so very much all SNAP personnel, volunteers, and participants! And I never in my wildest dreams believed that in my lifetime a Baptist organization would step up to help adult victims as the Churchnet is beginning to do. Very thankfully, Rhonda and Darrell Pitt

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant