TX - Victims want Baptists to do abuse outreach

  • Victims want Baptists to do abuse outreach
  • Former Dallas church music minister faces trial
  • He goes to court next month, charged with molesting 5 boys 
  • SNAP to local ministers: “Help law enforcement find others he hurt”
  • Group blasts Plano mega church staff for “being passive, not pro-active”
  • “Others may well be suffering in silence and shame,” self help organization says

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will urge
--Dallas area Baptists – especially staff and members at Prestonwood Baptist – to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by a former music minister here, and
--anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered the minister’s child sex crimes to step forward immediately, get help, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.

They will also urge area ministerial alliances and boards and other bodies to “break the long-standing but unhealthy climate of secrecy by clergy about clergy sex crimes” so that future child sex cases and cover ups might be prevented.

Thursday, Oct. 4 at 11:00 a.m.

Outside Prestonwood Baptist, 12123 Hillcrest Road in Dallas (972-820-5000)

Two-three victims of childhood clergy sexual abuse who belong to a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a Chicago woman who is the group’s founder and president

Next month, a former Prestonwood Baptist Church music minister will appear in a Mississippi court to stand trial on child sex abuse charges, despite having confessed to his congregation last year that he engaged in “sexual indiscretions with younger males” in the Dallas area.

In October 2011, John Langworthy pled not guilty to eight counts of “gratification of lust” allegedly involving his abuse of five boys between the ages of 8-12.

But two months earlier, in August 2011, he publicly admitted to “sexual indiscretions with younger males” to his Mississippi congregation. Someone taped Langworthy’s confession. http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/7661-peeping-preacher-suspect-waives-jury-trial#.UGyuZJjA9IE

SNAP believes that current and former staff at Prestonwood knew of or suspected Langworthy’s crimes but kept silent. The group is urging current church employees and members to share what they know with Mississippi law enforcement, so that Langworthy can be more effectively prosecuted. SNAP also wants Dallas area ministers, especially Baptists, to use their resources to more actively reach out to those who have been victimized and help them report known, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics to police and prosecutors.

From 1984 to 1989, Langworthy worked at Prestonwood’s main church (6801 W. Park Blvd., Plano, Texas 75093).

The pastor to whom Langworthy confessed years ago, Dr. Jack Graham, is still at Prestonwood. He is also past president of the national Southern Baptist Convention.

(NOTE: When Langworthy worked at Prestonwood, the church was located at Hillcrest and Arapaho in Dallas. It later moved to its current Plano location.)

His most recent church job was in Mississippi at Morrison Heights Baptist Church (3000 Hampstead Boulevard, in Clinton 601-924-5620), where he worked from 1990 until the summer of 2011.

Langworthy also worked in Jackson, MS between 1980-84 at two Baptist churches, First Baptist of Jackson and Daniel Memorial Baptist, while he was attending Mississippi College.

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant