Shining light on Baptist clergy sex abuse  
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(continued page 5)

Nov. 2005 (continued)  A former church secretary contacts me and tells me that she had made a report to church officials setting forth allegations about Gilmore’s part in sexual harassment at a Florida church, about gross sexual misconduct by one of Gilmore's co-ministers, about pornography on church computers there, and about the manner in which the ministerial staff demonized her when she made her report. (Previously, I couldn’t understand why no one in Florida did anything to remove Gilmore from ministry, but I suspect this woman’s description of the hostile environment there may provide at least part of the explanation.)

Dec. 2005   Subpoena is sent to the Baptist General Convention of Texas for documents in its clergy abuser file.

Jan. 2006   The Baptist General Convention of Texas makes blanket objections to producing any documents. We make a response urging disclosure of the documents.

  Why is the BGCT working to conceal records of clergy sex abuse rather than assuring kids’ safety?

We attend a court-ordered mediation and arrive at a settlement, in which FBCFB acknowledges the long-standing knowledge of its music minister about Gilmore’s "sexual contact" with me as a minor (¶ 16) and which requires FBCFB to distribute an apology letter to other churches where Gilmore has worked, thus putting them all on notice once again (and this time from a church rather than the victim) as to Gilmore’s “very serious sexual abuse” of a minor and the fact that another minister had knowledge of it.

  If it takes a lawsuit to make a Baptist church inform other churches about its knowledge concerning a minister’s sexual abuse of a kid, then most clergy predators will easily remain hidden and kids will remain at risk.

The lawsuit-extracted apology holds no meaning as a reflection of any real remorse, but as an acknowledgement of the truth, I hope it can be beneficial for others.

Feb. 2006   The lawsuit is ended.

Aug. 2006   The name of Farmers Branch music minister James Moore reappears in the SBC's online database of ministers. So...Moore was absent from the database while the lawsuit was pending, but was reinserted into the database when the lawsuit was over.

  It appears that the SBC's database of ministers is easily manipulated. Is this why Gilmore's name wasn't in the database even though he was still working in ministry in Florida? This makes it easier for clergy-predators to hide.

Another lawsuit is filed in Dallas County by another woman who was abused as a teen by a Southern Baptist minister. (No. DC-06-05674) Despite others' awareness of the abuse, the man remains a minister in a large church. And the attorney for the Baptist General Convention of Texas is the same blockhead bloke, Stephen Wakefield. [This case is ultimately reported as being settled with a secrecy agreement. Looks like nothing at all has changed.]

Still another similar lawsuit is filed in Denton County - and again the minister remains in the pulpit despite the victim's efforts to report him to the Baptist General Convention of Texas. (No. 2006-50186-367) It doesn't appear as though any denominational leader has learned anything.

To this day, I wonder whether anyone has informed all the many people whose kids interacted with Gilmore in Atlanta. Church leaders there received the letter from First Baptist of Farmers Branch, but what about all the people in the pews? It seems as though First Baptist of Atlanta's leadership doesn't want the congregants to know about this.

Why don’t Baptist leaders use the power of the pulpit to speak out with candor about ministers who are credibly reported for sexual abuse of a kid? Why don’t they take action to warn people? And why don’t they reach out to other potential victims to try to help them? I don’t know. But in all my pondering of these questions, I can never come up with any possible answer that’s good enough. Shame on them.

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