Five Named in $10 Million Suit


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A Southern Baptist minister's conviction for child molestation has led to five lawsuits seeking a total of $10 million in damages against the minister, the Southern Baptist Convention and three other Baptist groups.

Each is named in a $2 million suit. They are
Donald McCary, minister of music and youth at Chattanooga's Central Baptist Church of Hixon for 17 years until his arrest; the church itself; the Tennessee Baptist Convention; the Hamilton County Baptist Association; and the denomination.

McCary was convicted last April of 13 counts involving aggravated sexual battery, assault, sexual battery, rape and statutory rape of four boys, then aged 12 to 15. He was sentenced to a maximum 72 years in prison.

Attorneys for the denomination and congregation voiced certainty they would be dismissed from the suit. The suits allege that Central's pastor, Ron Phillips, failed to investigate McCary's activities after complaints about him in 1989.

Phillips also is also chairman of directors of one of the denomination's major agencies, the Home Mission Board.

See also: 

Appeals court denies relief for McCary on guilty pleas,, 2/12/2003

Appeals court reverses Donald McCary conviction; upholds another case,, 1/10/2003 (with complete text of one of the court's opinions, describing the allegations and evidence in criminal case)

SNAP Note:  Central Baptist Church of Hixon is an SBC-affiliated church.