Saturday, September 20, 2014

Former Second Baptist Church of Houston minister accused of child sex abuse: more information and more questions

I received an email today from someone providing more information on the accusations of child sex abuse against former Second Baptist Church of Houston music minister Eddie Struble that I have written about previously in several posts here, here and here. There are police reports from the Spring Valley Police Department here and here and the Houston Police Department here

Here are some of the contents of the email:

Amy, 

 Saw your blog on sexual abuse of children and teens and wholeheartedly support it, provided everything checks out. In the case of ES, everything said about him preying on a boy, a young man really (*of 16/17) is true. 

*editor's note: the Houston police department report states that the abuse began on 12/01/06 and continued until 10/15/09 which I believe would correspond to said victim's age as 14-17 years old.

Classmates know that he visited the boy in question daily at his home until the wee hrs.

 Many of us knew ES both from church where he had an impressive position as director of a large choir and orchestra, and also from the school that our own kids went to, where he liked to hang out at games. He knew almost all of the students there, was very 'huggy' with them, had their cell phone numbers etc. When the pastor was told about the above situation, the matter was referred to relevant church staff, who said they had ways of investigating such matters and to leave it to them. 

ES was removed from office somehow, but the church never reported back. When asked, they answered that 'it was true', as I suspect the police reports you show testify to. So the voicemail on your web site by Second is pertinently untrue, and a way of the corporate church to avoid legal responsibility since they did not report the matter (possibly to protect the family and ironically, feeding the rumor mill that keeps bringing up these questions).

[voicemail mentioned above embedded here]


 This had immediate unintended consequences, namely that ES applied to schools in the area, including ours. Luckily our kids' school was aware, even somehow responsible, since ES had actually traveled with the school's sports teams on a road trip or two (while not employed by them nor having any kids at the school himself, can you believe it!?! Our kids had been very aware of ES inclinations by then (the investigation by Second took 2 months) and had warned the classmates and the school staff, who by then became very concerned about the school's reputation and role in the matter).

 I believe he was finally served with a restraining order by the school since he kept showing up and contacting kids by phone and on Facebook etc. 

 A supporter



From information I have received from other credible sources, I believe the school referenced in the email above that served Eddie Struble with a restraining order is Faith West Academy in Katy, Texas. The staff is listed here. In July 2011, I contacted Kirk Rightmire, Public Relations Director for Faith West, by email. His reply and my email are below:

Amy,

After inquiring to other staff members and what I know, Faith West and it's employees were never directly involved with any situations involving Eddie. In act, he never was a part of this organization. Therefore, we have no information at all regarding the family’s personal affairs. Our role was to support the family and their request. Any information would need to come from them directly. Thank you for your ministry.

Blessings!

Kirk Rightmire

Kirk Rightmire
Director of Education
Faith West Academy & Community Center
krightmire@faithwest.org

Romans 12: 1 & 2

On Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 4:34 PM, Houston Snap <spacecitysnap@gmail.com> wrote:

Mr. Krightmire, [I misspelled his name.]

I am contacting you about a serious concern about Eddie Struble, a former music minister at Second Baptist. I understand Eddie had caused concern at Faith West regarding a student. I was contacted by some concerned parents in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where Eddie now lives and is visiting churches. I have recently been asked to be the Houston leader for SNAP, www.snapnetwork.org, a confidential support group for survivors of clergy abuse.

 I spoke with the pastor at First Baptist Humble a few weeks ago, Barry Jeffries, where Eddie recently worked as interim music minister. He told me that Eddie was fired from there last October for "suspicious behavior." I also called Hits Theatre where Eddie worked as a vocal coach, and they told me that they are "aware of the allegations" when I mentioned concern that there could have been teenage male victims of abuse by Eddie at the theater. 

I have communicated my concern about Eddie with a former Dallas County probation officer who worked with sex offenders for 10 years who helped form the specialized sex offender unit for Dallas County who is working with a Keller police detective, in the DFW area, about these concerns regarding Eddie. The Keller detective has a copy of a police report and restraining order that was filed against Eddie by the family of a teenage male victim from Second Baptist. I also have seen the report from Spring Valley police. It is my understanding, from a former Second Baptist minister, that Eddie was forced to leave Second as a result of these allegations of abuse. However, David Dixon, executive pastor, left me a detailed message stating that Second Baptist has "no information at all" regarding any of the allegations against Eddie. He also stated that "nothing has ever come to us about the individual that you talk about," and he made a point to say again, "We have no information whatsoever."

 I am concerned that there could potentially be more victims at Second and in the Houston area whom have never come forward to tell anyone. If you or anyone else at Faith West have any information to assist the Keller police detective, I can put you in touch with him.


Sincerely,
Amy Smith
Houston SNAP


Two critical questions:

1. Has Second Baptist Church reported the knowledge of or suspicions of child sex abuse by Eddie Struble as they are required to do by the Texas mandatory reporting law passed in 1971? 

2. Has Faith West Academy reported the knowledge of or suspicions of child sex abuse by Eddie Struble that prompted them to obtain a restraining order as they are required to do by the Texas mandatory reporting law passed in 1971?


SNAP believes that church officials have a moral and civic duty, when confronted with proof or credible allegations of wrongdoing, to aggressively seek out victims, witnesses and whistleblowers and beg them to call police and prosecutors so that those who commit or conceal crimes – especially against children – will be charged, convicted and jailed which prevents future crimes and cover ups.

We urge anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Eddie Struble to come forward immediately and contact law enforcement, begin to heal and protect other kids.

The light of truth and knowledge is our greatest tool to protect kids,



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