TX--Group wants Baptists to “reach out” to abuse victims
For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 5
Statement by Amy Smith, SNAP Dallas Director (281 748 4050, [email protected])
We applaud the brave young woman who is exposing those who committed and concealed child sex crimes at Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland. When victims stay silent, predators keep hurting kids and colleagues keep hiding their crimes. But when we find the strength to seek justice in the secular courts, there’s at least a chance for healing, prevention and closure.
The perpetrator in this case is Jordan “Jordy” Keith Earls, who was the church’s music minister. His brother, Josh Earls, was the church’s youth minister. Both of them pleaded guilty to federal charges of making child pornography.
The suit charges that church staff “knew or should have known of the pedophilic propensities of both Earl brothers.” We strongly suspect that evidence will prove this charge is true. All too often, especially in Baptist churches, church officials refuse to act responsibly and decisively in cases of suspected child sex crimes, preferring instead to disbelieve victims or “handling” the cases quietly and internally.
In 2013, the Earl brothers moved to South Carolina. We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by these men – in Texas or South Carolina – will summon the courage to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.
And we urge Baptist officials in both states to use their vast resources and connections to seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups. It’s possible that the Earl brothers - or others who may have obstructed justice, destroyed evidence, intimidated witnesses – might face more prosecution in the future.
The case is “Jane Doe 103 vs. Arapaho Road Baptist Church of Garland” and was filed in Dallas County District Court. The victim is represented by Dallas attorney Tahira Khan Merritt (214-503-7300).
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 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)