Shining light on Baptist clergy sex abuse  
  HOME   | The voice of SNAP Baptist | 
 
 
TOMMY GILMORE:
Shouldn't Parents Be Told About a Minister Like This?

Tommy Gilmore as shown in 2006 on KDFW-TV in Dallas in news report on church's apology for his "very serious sexual abuse" of an adolescent church girl. (Full name: Thomas Edward Gilmore)
  1. Tommy Gilmore worked as a youth and children’s minister in Texas, Georgia and Florida. The Baptist General Convention of Texas put Gilmore’s name in its confidential file of “known offenders” based on “substantial evidence” of abuse or a confession, and based on information received from a church. (His full name: Thomas Edward Gilmore)
  2. Another Southern Baptist minister made a sworn statement attesting to his long-standing knowledge of minister Gilmore’s sexual abuse of a kid and to the fact that he told Gilmore he would tell the whole church about it unless Gilmore left. He also swore that Gilmore himself talked about a congregant who may have seen him in a compromising position with a teen church girl.
  3. One of Gilmore’s prior churches made a written apology for the “very serious sexual abuse” inflicted by Gilmore on a minor girl in the church youth group and sent the apology to the deacons of other churches where Gilmore has worked. (Were people in the pews told?)
  4. A prior church settled a lawsuit with a court-filed agreement in which it expressly acknowledged that its music minister had "knowledge about Gilmore's sexual contact with Brown as a minor." (¶ 16)
  5. In sworn court documents, Gilmore did not deny having sexual contact with a minor church girl but instead objected repeatedly to the definition of "sexual contact." (If he didn't do it, why didn't he just deny it? Probably because in sworn answers, he is subject to the criminal penalty for perjury.)
  6. In court documents, Gilmore refused to either agree or disagree with this very basic statement: "For an adult minister of a church to have sexual contact with a minor adolescent member of the church is harmful to the minor adolescent." Instead, he objected to the definition of sexual contact. (Question: Is there ANY sort of sexual contact between an adult minister and an adolescent that would not be harmful to the adolescent? What sort of a minister would refuse to agree with a statement like that? Would you want that sort of minister in your church?)
First Baptist Church of Oviedo, Florida where Tommy Gilmore worked as a children's minister.

Gilmore was at First Baptist Church of Atlanta, First Baptist Church of Oviedo, First Baptist Church of Tyler, First Baptist Church of Farmers Branch, and Cornerstone Community Church of Central Florida. He did ministerial consulting work at other churches.

Gilmore rubbed shoulders with some of the most prominent leaders in the denomination. At the 14,000 member First Baptist Church of Atlanta, he was a long-time ministerial colleague of Charles Stanley, a celebrity evangelist and two-term Southern Baptist Convention president.

In Florida, he worked at First Baptist Church of Oviedo, a megachurch headed by pastor Dwayne Mercer, a recent past-president of the Florida Baptist Convention. While at Oviedo, Gilmore was included in a complaint alleging sexual harassment.

And when the Southern Baptist Convention gathered 50,000 delegates for its annual meeting in Atlanta, Tommy Gilmore was the minister entrusted with child-care arrangements, a task that reportedly required about 1000 babysitters. (Think some of those were teen girls?)

Shouldn't parents be told about a minister like this?

Even though 18 Baptist leaders in four different states were put on notice of the substantiated report that he abused a kid, Gilmore remained in ministry. And even though church leaders had already been twice informed about him, when SNAP tried to hand out flyers to members at First Baptist Church of Atlanta, SNAP was run off the premises. [See SNAP's press statement and letter to Dr. Charles Stanley.]

Gilmore graduated from Hardin-Simmons University, a Southern Baptist school in Abilene, Texas. He did graduate work at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Gilmore, whose full name is Thomas Edward Gilmore, has a wife named Sue, whose full name is Darla Sue Dunagan Gilmore. (As a kid, Christa Brown was made to apologize to Gilmore's wife.) Gilmore is the father of a son and a daughter. His cars and pick-ups had license plates saying "Keep Kids Drug Free." Perhaps it would be more useful if his cars said "Keep Kids Free of Me. "

Only after Christa Brown finally gave up on Baptist leaders, filed a lawsuit, and got some press, was Gilmore finally made to resign from ministry - fifteen months after Baptist leaders were informed. Gilmore now works in real estate. Other sources report that he is active at the First Baptist Church of Orlando.

How many more ministers like Gilmore are still in Baptist churches?

How would anyone know whether a report of abuse had been made against a Baptist minister?

Minister Tommy Gilmore with church girls, including Christa Brown at far right.

Or how many reports?

Who in the denomination keeps records of reported clergy sex abusers?

Who is taking the problem seriously enough to do something about it?

Are kids safe in Baptist churches?

 

Disclaimers