TABC Press Release July 2018


Travis Avenue Baptist Church
Statement
July 1, 2018

In 2003, staff members of Travis Avenue Baptist Church (TABC) in Fort Worth, Texas were approached by two adult females who had grown up as members of TABC. The two women reported allegations of sexual abuse by a former TABC staff member that occurred during the early and middle 1980s when they were in the youth group. The alleged abuse occurred when both females were under the age of 18 and in the TABC youth group, both at the church and at various youth outings. The perpetrator of the alleged abuse was identified as the TABC youth minister who worked at the church from 1981 - 1986.

Immediately upon learning of these allegations in 2003, TABC staff members launched a thorough investigation. Our investigation uncovered evidence to support these allegations and we found proof of multiple instances of extensive abuse committed by the youth minister against each of the two victims, occurring from 1981-1986. To our knowledge, none of the TABC staff members at that time were aware of the offenses. Further investigation revealed that another teenager in the youth group at that time had witnessed one of the instances of abuse; this account matched the account of one of the victims.

Current TABC staff members were devastated that the victimization of the teenagers occurred in the church and as a part of youth activities. Out of respect for the victims’ requests for privacy and in order to protect their identities, we did not make a public statement at that time. But behind the scenes, staff leadership worked confidentially to provide support and healing to the victims and made efforts to reduce the likelihood of further abuse by the perpetrator, who was, at that time, a minister at a church in Memphis, Tennessee. As the reports of abuse were made to TABC outside of the statute of limitations for seeking charges against the perpetrator, TABC leadership made efforts to warn other individuals in the perpetrator’s church about his history of abusing teenagers in the youth group. Unfortunately, these attempts had minimal effect.

In more recent days, the two victims, assisted by another member of the 1980s TABC youth group, renewed their efforts to expose the perpetrator and to ask his church to fire him from his ministry position of Senior Pastor of his church in Memphis, thus preventing him from assuming further ministry positions. In cooperation with TABC leadership, a letter sent to the church resulted in the pastor’s resignation. However, his resignation statement contained erroneous and misleading information, which could potentially allow him to begin ministry again in yet another church or ministry setting.

As a result of these factors, and out of concern that the perpetrator has never accepted responsibility for his behavior, the victims of the abuse have decided to take this information to the media. In these media accounts, TABC will be identified as the place where the abuse occurred, but also as a place that has supported and helped the victims over the past 15 years. 

In following the teachings of Jesus we have the highest regard for sexual integrity, justice for victims, and protection of children and the most vulnerable. TABC staff takes extremely seriously any abuse, violence, or mistreatment that happens to children, teenagers, or adults in the church or in society. Over the past 25 years, TABC leadership has actively put in place procedures to provide safety to children and teenagers and has helped many victims of violence and abuse through its counseling ministry and other ministry channels. TABC will continue to monitor its policies and procedures to make sure they are reflective of best practices for providing a safe and loving environment for children and youth ministries. Additionally, TABC will continue to provide help to those who have been victimized by violence and abuse, working as diligently as possible to make the church a safe place for those wounded by any form of mistreatment.

Any persons needing to speak to a counselor concerning incidences of abuse may do so by email at .

© 2018 Travis Avenue Baptist Church   |   800 W. Berry St., Fort Worth, TX US 76110