TN-- Victims want Mid-South preacher fired

For immediate release: Friday, Nov. 18, 2016

Victims want minister ousted

He admits not calling police in alleged abuse case

Still, he’s now with a regional Baptist group in TN

“This just encourages others to stay silent about abuse,” group says

Instead, SNAP wants church officials to “punish him and deter cover ups”

That’s how wrongdoing will be discouraged & victim will heal, support group maintains

A support group wants a Mid-South church organization to oust a Baptist minister who admits he didn’t call police when alleged child sex crimes were reported to him.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are urging Mid-South Baptist Association in Tennessee to “denounce, discipline and publicly remove Rev. Scott Payne” from any posts in their organization.

In media interviews, Payne admits that he did not call police when he was confronted in the 1990s with allegations that Immanuel Baptist Church assistant youth pastor Chris Carwile had abused kids.

In recent news reports, several victims have come forward to tell their abuse stories and file police reports against Carwile. He’s worked recently at the main branch of the Memphis Public Library until he was suspended days ago.

SNAP contends that Payne’s actions are “a violation of common sense, common decency, pastoral responsibility and state law.”

“Rev. Payne should have no role or position in any church or religious body and should be drummed out of the ministry and never again given a position in which he might again ignore or hide child sexual abuse, either known or suspected,” David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP. “We hope law enforcement will investigate his actions - and inaction – and consider prosecuting him.”

Payne is listed as a leader on the Team of Encouragers for the Mid-South Baptist Association in Tennessee. The association is directed by Dr. Mitch Martin. 

“We hope Mid-South Baptist Association will publicly denounce Rev. Payne, and send a clear signal to their employees and congregants that ignoring or hiding suspicions of child sex crimes is immoral and won’t be tolerated,” said Clohessy.

“We hope Mid-South Baptist Association will publicly chastise Rev. Payne and send a clear signal to their employees and congregants that ignoring or hiding suspicions of child sex crimes is immoral and won’t be tolerated,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s Outreach Director. “Whether this post is important or ceremonial, paid or unpaid, fulltime or part time – none of that matters. Giving any kind or role or honor or power to someone who admits hiding suspected child sex crimes is wrong and counter-productive.”

SNAP says that the law clearly says that everyone in Tennessee is a mandatory reporter of child abuse. 

“Rev. Payne admits he didn’t call police and now asks forgiveness. But forgiveness is premature and does nothing to protect kids,” said Clohessy. “First, Payne must help police, prosecutors and Carwile’s victims first, by doing everything he can to help ensure that Carwile is successfully prosecuted. The same is true of current and former supervisors and colleagues of Carwile’s at every church where he worked, even for a short time.

“Rev. Payne’s excuses for acting selfishly, recklessly and deceitfully ring hollow. And ignorance of the law is no excuse,” said Amy Smith, SNAP leader Dallas-Fort Worth. “We hope law enforcement will investigate Rev. Payne, see if he’s done this in other cases and prosecute him if possible.

"Some say that because Rev. Payne didn’t call police, he was not kept on staff when a merger of two churches was planned. SNAP says that’s “not enough.”

 “If church officials opted out of the merger and rejected Rev. Payne because he refused to call police about abuse, they need to disclose this publicly,” Clohessy said. “They owe it to police, prosecutors, parents and the public, not to mention their own flock.”

“Quiet consequences for serious wrongdoing achieves little, especially when there’s clear admission of guilt,” said Dorris. “Only by publicly demoting, disciplining and denouncing “enablers” will kids be protected, abuse be stopped and cover ups be deterred.”

Dr. Mitch Martin

Executive Director of Missions

Mid-South Baptist Association

6896 US Hwy. 70,

Bartlett, TN 38133

(901) 373-6161

[email protected]

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