Monday, March 23, 2015

Child sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas

Press release by the law office of Tahira Kahn Merritt
The lawsuit alleges that Jordy Earls and Josh Earls ingratiated themselves with the parents of the Church’s youth group and began grooming minor girls, Doe 103 among them, who participated in Youth Group and Youth Choir. Doe 103 was only an 8th grader when she first met the Earls brothers. The first incident of sexual abuse and assault occurred after Sunday school in the youth building on the church premises. The sexual assaults, abuse and exploitation continued weekly, sometimes more than once a week, during the 10th and 11th grade. Her parents, serving as Sunday school teachers, were long-time members of the church.
 In 2013, both Josh Earls and Jordan Earls left Arapaho Road Baptist Church, telling the children they had been “called” to other assignments in South Carolina. However, in early 2013, the family of one of the other girls from the Youth Group at ARBC notified law enforcement that Josh Earls had sexually molested their minor daughter at a pool party in 2012. After a police investigation, Josh Earls was extradited back to Dallas and arrested on Federal charges of making pornographic images and videos involving multiple underage girls from ARBC.
 At the same time, local police were also investigating Jordy Earls. As part of their investigation, law enforcement contacted Doe 103 and her parents. Consequently, Jordy was also extradited from South Carolina and returned to Dallas where he soon faced similar Federal charges of child pornography and also state charges specifically for the sexual abuse of Doe 103 and of other girls as well. 
The lawsuit alleges negligence and gross negligence against the Church. Doe 103 claims the church knew should have known of the pedophilic propensities of both Earl brother. They had solicited several girls to send them nude pictures. Emboldened, they sent nude pictures of themselves to the girls in violation of state and federal laws.
 Both Josh and Jordy Earls subsequently pleaded guilty to federal charges of making child pornography In February 2014, Josh was sentenced to 12 years in Federal Prison and lifetime registration as a sexual offender. Like his brother, Jordy also pleaded guilty to child pornography. His sentencing is scheduled for February 18,2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. 
WFAA: Sex abuse lawsuit filed against Garland church
"All the young women who have come forward to confront the Earl brothers and to speak out are truly brave. It takes great courage to have gone through the criminal process, which has taken about two years. My hope is that Arapaho Road Baptist Church will disclose the truth about what they knew of the risks these perpetrators posed and their misconduct and when they knew. This victim deserves the truth," Merritt wrote in her release. 
Baptist News Global: Abuse victim sues Baptist Church
The lawsuit says parents reported inappropriate behavior to church leaders, who assured them their concerns would be addressed and that the brothers “would be talked to,” but the suit claims their access to girls in the youth group continued unfettered. When the girl’s mother complained about a lewd cartoon Josh Earls sent to children in 2012, she was told he had already resigned but was staying on until July 2013 to train his replacement.
The lawsuit claims church leaders made “numerous falsehoods,” including assurance that Jordy Earls was a “man of good moral character” who could be trusted with counseling, teaching and instruction of children.
Those and other representations, the lawsuit claims, were either “known to be false and misleading at the time they were made” or “were made with a reckless disregard as to whether they were true or false or of potential consequence to members of the congregation.”
Dallas Observer: Garland Church Should Have Known Youth Ministers Were Child Abusers, Suit Says
"Beginning in 2009, Doe 103's mother and father had complained to ARBC's leadership about what they viewed as Josh's inappropriate conduct, especially with young girls, including giving them rides (unaccompanied by another adult) and placing childish, profane and perverted messages in church bulletins and on social media," Doe says in the suit. "The leadership at ARBC told them they would 'talk' to Josh about their concerns, but there is no evidence they did."



On, February 18, 2015, Jordan (Jordy) Earls was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison in Texas for the production of child pornography. He joins his brother Josh who is already in federal prison in Texas.


THE COURT: Oh, okay. Oh, seems to be a family problem. 

SNAP wants Baptists to reach out to abuse victims
The suit charges that church staff “knew or should have known of the pedophilic propensities of both Earl brothers.” We strongly suspect that evidence will prove this charge is true. All too often, especially in Baptist churches, church officials refuse to act responsibly and decisively in cases of suspected child sex crimes, preferring instead to disbelieve victims or “handling” the cases quietly and internally.
In 2013, the Earl brothers moved to South Carolina. We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by these men – in Texas or South Carolina – will summon the courage to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.
And we urge Baptist officials in both states to use their vast resources and connections to seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups. It’s possible that the Earl brothers - or others who may have obstructed justice, destroyed evidence, intimidated witnesses – might face more prosecution in the future.
Recently, a youth pastor at First Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana was arrested on a charge of sexual battery of a 14-year-old girl. He faces up to 10 years in prison. A church where Jonathan Bailey was formerly employed had fired him about 10 years ago for what is described as an "inappropriate relationship" with a juvenile congregant. This is an example of "passing the trash" that is a pervasive problem among Baptist churches that protects and enable child sexual predators.
Police re-booked him March 4 on the more serious charge, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, after the alleged victim gave details in a second interview she hadn’t previously shared with her parents or police.
The new warrant indicates that since the first arrest a second church contacted police reporting it fired Bailey as youth minister about 10 years ago, because of similar allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a juvenile congregant. The warrant did not name the church or say where it is located.
Ex-youth minister re-arrested in First Baptist Case
 The warrant for Bailey's new arrest says the girl consented to a second interview on Feb. 24, in which she said she had not told her parents or police the full extent of her contact with Bailey.
"She reiterated the previous information," the new warrant said, "and added two instances of which she and Jonathan Bailey had engaged in oral sex acts." The warrant says one instance occurred in Biloxi, Mississippi. The other took place "in a room" inside the First Baptist New Orleans complex at 5290 Canal Blvd., the warrant said.
Which church called New Orleans police on March 2, 2015 to report firing Bailey but failed to report the abuse 10 years ago?
The warrant indicated this is not the first time Bailey has faced allegations of misconduct. On March 2, the warrant said, Detective Lymous received a telephone call from a previous employer of Bailey. That person said Bailey worked as a youth minister for their church a decade ago, but was fired after church officials discovered "an inappropriate relationship between him and a under aged (sic) member of the congregation."
The warrant doesn't say whether that relationship was reported to police. 

This is Bailey's bio that used to be on the FBC New Orleans website:

Jonathan Bailey

Youth Minister with Men's and Recreation Ministries
 It is a joy and honor to serve as youth minister in one of the greatest cities in the world.  I was born in Fort Worth, TX but moved to Long Beach, MS at a very young age.  My family moved to Louisiana in 1994, where I have basically lived since.  I graduated from Louisiana College in 2004 with a  Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice.  Some say this degree comes in handy when working with teenagers! I met Tiffany Atkins at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of 2006.  We began dating a few months later and on January 5, 2008 she became my wife.  We both graduated from NOBTS.  I received a Masters of Arts in Christian Education with a focus in youth ministry and sports/recreation ministry.  After graduation we served at a Baptist church in Georgia for two years.  The Lord blessed us with a beautiful baby girl on August 11, 2011.  We have such a love and passion for the city of New Orleans that we named our daughter, Nola-Grace.  My family moved back to New Orleans in November 2012 and are overjoyed to be back home.  I truly feel blessed to serve at this church as I seek to share the love of Christ to these teenagers.

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



THE COURT: Oh, okay.Ohseemto be family problem

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