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,



Friday, September 5, 2014

Grooming 101: a convicted child predator in his own words

Below is the full text of KVUE Williamson County reporter Tom Miller's interview with Greg Kelley, the former Leander High School football player sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole or the right to appeal after he was found guilty of super aggravated assault of a child: Link

Greg Kelley: The first thing I wanted to say was during the investigation I was never questioned by police, and I was the only suspect and person of interest in the case. The other thing I want to [say] is that the police never investigated the home daycare where the assault took place. The Cedar Park Police Department didn't do a full investigation of all the children in the daycare. Another one is on stand, the detective admitted erasing emails obtained [as] potential evidence of the case. He testified that he [deleted] . . . probably close to 100 emails . . . the investigator testified she [deleted] the same emails as well, and they both broke company policy, because they weren't supposed to delete  evidence of a case.

 Mysteriously, there was never a time or date provided that the alleged assault occured on. They have an estimate date on April 15, but they said it could have been two months early and two months after. The last thing I really, really point out with you is the conviction was solely on the convoluted testimony of a 4-year-old kid. There was no . . . evidence of me doing the assault, there was no eyewitnesses of an assault, and my 25-year conviction was solely on the word of a 4-year-old boy.

Tom Miller: If you are innocent, why did you go ahead and agree to a 25-year prison sentence without the possibility of parole or an appeal?

GK: The reason why I did that is 'cause I was [given] two options after I was convicted . . . If I waive my right to appeal to a judge, I serve 25 years. If I give it to a jury and still have my right to appeal, they could have convicted me of 25 to life without parole, and I'd already rolled the dice by not taking the plea bargain before trial . . . and to me, in the eyes of a jury, they think of me as a monster, and they didn't give me a fair trial at all, and I'm not going to roll that dice again . . . so, 25 years, [I'll] get out when I'm 44 years old. That's exactly why I took that . . . I took that because I had no other way. They had already convicted me. 

TM: Why do you think they viewed you as a monster?

GK Because I would never have thought they would have convicted meI came in the courtroom, came in there with a full heart, ready to walk out there with my family and my supporters, and my heart was crushed when they convicted me on such a convoluted trial, such a washed up trial . . . they thought I was a monster. [But I have] supporters thinking otherwise.

TM: I know you denied that this ever happened, but was there any partial truth to any of the accusations against you?

GK: No. There was no truth at all.

TM: Is there anything you regret doing or wish you had done differently?

GKNo, not at all. People ask me [about] not taking that probation plea bargain . . . my mom told me to take it, my family told me to really think about taking it, I said, "No, I'm not gonna do that. I'm gonna abide by the principles that I [grew] up with and my family taught me, and I'm not gonna accept such a horrible crime when I didn't do it. That's not my morals and that's not my goals. I wanted to change my life and this is not me, so I didn't take probation as an option.

TM: Do you regret that now, though, in hindsight?

GK: I don't. I don't regret it, no.

TM: If you had an opportunity to speak to the families of these children who accused you, what would you say?

GK: If I had the opportunity to talk to their families, the first thing I'd say is, "I'm sorry that your son is thinking that something's happened to him, but I think he's acting very untruthful in his testimony, and if something did happen to him, you just have the wrong guy. Bottom line, I'm sorry, but you just have the wrong guy."

TM: Were you ever alone with either of these boys?

GK: No. I also testified on the stand that I was never alone with them. It was always in the presence of an adult.

TM: Why do you think they said these things happened?

GK: I've had that question asked to me plenty of times, and . . . we're trying to find that out . . . and not letting me be in here any longer.

TM: What was your relationship with these two boys? Were you a role model for them? Were you a friend for them?

GK: That's all that that was. I was the only one that would interact with them when nobody except for the daycare provider would . . . like I said on the stand . . . I didn't want them to think as me as a big stranger and I wanted to get to know them. You know, I lived there and I wanted them to get to know [me] and I wanted to get to know them, and I believe they looked at me as a role model because they'd always wanna high-five me.

TM: Was there anything at all that happened? Was there anything that you believe that was potentially borderline inappropriate that happened?

GK: Not at all. As far as me, I was never inappropriate with the boys. That's one thing I can say, is in my point of view, there was nothing inappropriate going on.

TM: Was there anything potentially inappropriate that could have been seen in somebody else's point of view?

GK: No.

TM: For people who are unsure, what would you say to them? People who don't necessarily know what to think, because a lot of people think that something happened, they're just not sure what.

GK: The only thing I can do is say I didn't do it. I wish I could reach for a mountaintop and say I didn't do it. I wish people believed me, but apparently that's not how this world works. For those people I would say, "Believe what you want to believe. If you knew me as a person, if you knew the things I want to do in my life, I wouldn't have the time or the mindset of doing something that monstrous.

TM: From what I've seen, you and your family are people of faith. Why do you think this happened to you?

GK: I believe it's in God's hands . . . this is just a speed bump. As a man it can only make me better, so you know, I believe it's with a plan . . . bad things happen to good people all the time.

TM: What are you hoping happens moving forward? Are you looking for a miracle?

GK: Of course, yes. [laughs] I pray every night that something will come out and show my innocence and I can get out of here . . . I have many supporters who are trying to get me out of here because they know the true me, they know who I am and what I was up against. So, yes, I am hoping for a miracle.

TM: Again, if you are innocent, why would you go ahead and give up 25 years of your life without the possibility of parole of an appeal.

GK: I didn't have a choice. I went to trial fighting. I went to trial to fight for my life. I testified and proved my innocence . . . but it's not supposed to be that way. I had the right to remain silent and I didn't . . . I took that because I was convicted, I was wrongly convicted and I didn't have a choice, and 25 years, I saw a light outside of a tunnel rather than giving up, giving into a jury, and they could convict me of life without parole . . . If I would have given it to the jury, they could have given me life, and I couldn't handle that.

TM: Is there anything you want to say in this last minute? [Kelley's time on his prepaid phone card was almost out]

GK: The only thing is I didn't do it . . . and I think the truth will come out, and the truth will set me free.

About a week after the interview above in which Kelley states that "...you just have the wrong guy," Greg Kelley did another jailhouse interview with Casey Claiborne of Fox 7 Austin:
I can't say somebody else did it to him because I know how it feels to be accused of something like that. And I couldn't put my finger on a person or anything. But I know that that kid was being untruthful on the stand.
 MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

"I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact," said Sandusky.


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From the Austin American-Statesman:
Kelley said he would play with the kids at the in-home Cedar Park daycare, where he temporarily stayed with a classmate while his parents were in the hospital. He said the kids would climb on his arms and he would do “rough play” with them.
Prosecutor Geoffrey Puryear asked Kelley if he had ever told anyone that he was doing something different in the spring of 2013 besides going to school and working. Kelley said no.
Prosecutors then called gym owner Phillip Forbes, who testified that Kelley told him 10 days ago that he was a sniper in the Marine Corps and was going to be stationed in Southern California. He said he found out Kelley was lying to him when he saw articles in the news about Kelley’s trial.
“I wouldn’t believe anything he says,” said Forbes.


















Thank you, Mary.




How Child Molesters Fool People by Anna C. Salter, Ph.D.

Complete list of slide presentations on Dr. Anna Salter's site here.