Plea spurs suit
Incidents took place at church

Patrick K. Farmer

By Josh Burton and Chris Ramirez

Globe-News Staff, Amarillo Globe-News
August 01, 2007

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday against Paramount Baptist Church stemming from the guilty plea of a former Sunday school teacher and child care worker in August 2006 on four counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact. The suit alleges Paramount church officials were aware of complaints about Patrick K. Farmer's indecent behavior toward children for several years prior to his guilty plea but did nothing to prevent him from supervising children or being in their presence alone.

Farmer, 40, entered a guilty plea to all charges, which involved girls attending the church and occurred on church property. He received six years' deferred adjudication, fines, and community service. He is now a registered sex offender.

The suit, filed in Randall County District Court by the parents of two of the three girls Farmer pleaded guilty to indecency with, also alleges the church hired and retained Farmer as a child care worker even after being told by Canyon Independent School District that officials did not recommend hiring him in any capacity that involved working with children. Farmer was an elementary school teacher for CISD's Lakeside Elementary School from August 2000 until May 2001. He has also been a substitute teacher with Amarillo Independent School District. His Texas teaching credentials were not revoked by the state until Jan. 23, 2007.

Paramount officials acknowledged Tuesday that Farmer had been a longtime church member, was a volunteer teacher and for approximately three years was a paid child care worker until 2004. They said he is no longer affiliated with the church.

Paramount Baptist Executive Pastor Dave Anderson called the lawsuit allegations "very serious" and "deeply concerning" and said the church also is investigating the claims.

"As both a parent and a staff member, I can attest that Paramount Baptist Church continually strives to provide an environment where families are safe, secure and given the opportunity to learn about the love of Jesus Christ," Anderson said. "I would ask everyone ... to be in prayer for all the parties involved in this situation."

Court documents:
Cause No. 17291-B
Cause No. 17292-B
Cause No. 17293-B

Anderson also acknowledged the incidents Farmer pleaded guilty to took place at the church, though Anderson said he was unaware of any previous complaints about Farmer's behavior against children.

All four second-degree felony charges of indecency with a minor were filed against Farmer on July 27, 2005. According to Randall County District Attorney James Farren, the county began to prosecute Farmer, but later agreed to accept a plea from him, which was filed in Randall County 181st District Court Aug. 3, 2006.

The cases involved at least three girls, all of whom were under the age of 10. Farren said authorities investigated claims Farmer inappropriately touched children in a sexual manner over their clothing.

Randall County accepted the plea agreement because the clothes were still on the victims, Farren said, and there was no guarantee Farmer would be convicted if the case went to trial.

In September 2006, District Judge David Gleason amended Farmer's probation, barring him from supervising children under 17 and ordering him to stay 1,000 feet from places where children commonly gather.

That includes schools, day care facilities, public swimming pools, playgrounds or youth centers.

Attorneys for the plaintiff, Broome Bobo LLP of Irving, said Paramount Baptist knew before and after his hiring that Farmer had been involved with allegations of improprieties.

"This lawsuit is filed because the church could have done things to prevent this, and the family wants to make sure offenses like this don't happen again," said attorney Stanley Broome.

Broome said the offenses against his clients took place on a regular basis over a three-year period from 2000 to 2003. He said the church began getting complaints about Farmer as early as 1995 and the victims' parents, who began attending Paramount in 2000, complained in 2003 after becoming aware of the situation. Broome said he's also spoken with other families who complained after his clients did.

The girls are still undergoing counseling and will probably have counseling for many years to come, Broome said.

A court date for the case has not yet been set, but the plaintiffs have asked for a jury trial.

Paramount Baptist Church was founded in 1958 by a few dozen members of First Baptist Church who wanted to expand outreach in the new part of Amarillo.

The church is now located at 3801 S. Western St.

Approximately 1,200 people attend Sunday services on average, said Jason Boyett, church spokesman.

Staff writer Brenda Bernet contributed to this report. She can be reached at brenda.bernet@amarillo.com

Contact Josh Burton at josh.burton@amarillo.com

Contact Chris Ramirez at chris.ramirez@amarillo.com

http://www.amarillo.com/stories/080107/new_8126655.shtml

_________________________________________________

The Houston Chronicle

Aug. 2, 2007


Parents sue Amarillo church over sex offender

© 2007 The Associated Press

AMARILLO, Texas — The parents of two children sexually abused at Paramount Baptist Church have filed a lawsuit claiming the church was aware of earlier complaints about the perpetrator's indecent behavior.

Patrick K. Farmer, 40, pleaded guilty in 2006 to four felony counts of indecency with a child after being accused of inappropriately touching at least three girls under the age of 10 from 2000 to 2003.

Farmer, who worked as a Sunday school teacher and child care worker at the church, is now a registered sex offender.

"This lawsuit is filed because the church could have done things to prevent this, and the family wants to make sure offenses like this don't happen again," said Stanley Broome, an attorney for the parents.

Dave Anderson, the executive pastor at Paramount Baptist, said he had been unaware of any previous complaints about Farmer's behavior with children. The church was investigating the lawsuit's claims, which he said were "very serious" and "deeply concerning."

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the parents allege Paramount did nothing to prevent Farmer from supervising children or being alone with them.

The plaintiffs claim the church had gotten complaints about Farmer as early as 1995. The suit says Paramount hired him to work with children after being notified that the Canyon school district had recommended against hiring him in any capacity that involved working with children.

Farmer is no longer affiliated with the church, which averages attendance of about 1,200 on Sunday. But church officials said he had been a longtime member, a volunteer teacher, and, for three years, a paid child care worker until 2004.

"As both a parent and a staff member, I can attest that Paramount Baptist Church continually strives to provide an environment where families are safe, secure and given the opportunity to learn about the love of Jesus Christ," Anderson said. "I would ask everyone ... to be in prayer for all the parties involved in this situation."

Farmer, a former public school teacher, had his Texas teaching credentials revoked in January.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5020918.html

See also: "Paramount Baptist Lawsuit", 8/1/07, KFDA-TV NewsChannel 10 Amarillo

   
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