TN--Victims urge outreach by church & library in alleged abuse case https://t.co/rc9HiJrgkM— SNAP Network (@SNAPNetwork) November 16, 2016
This post is in partnership with Dee Parsons at The Wartburg Watch.
Last weekend, three survivors of child sex abuse by a former Baptist assistant youth pastor in Tennessee publicly shared their stories. Dee and I read these stories and shared them on social media. Our hearts go out to these men, and we applaud them for their bravery in sharing such personal pain. In doing so, they are giving many others courage to come forward and tell their own stories as well as protecting other kids.
Through independent research and verification, Dee and I have learned that the accused former Baptist youth pastor is Chris Carwile. In the posts by the survivors, Chris' name has been changed and appears as "Carl."
Chris Carwile is currently the Broadcast Program Coordinator of WYPL at the City of Memphis Public Library.
One year ago, one of the survivors, Michael Hansen, sent a letter to pastor Scott Payne, former pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, the church where Chris Carwile served as youth ministry intern during the time the child sexual abuse occurred. In the survivors' posts, Scott's name appears as "Thomas." After Chris was forced to leave Immanuel Baptist Church when abuse allegations surfaced, he reportedly went on to serve in youth ministry at Cherokee Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee.
Highpoint Church released a statement yesterday, and members received an email with a link to that statement. (archived link just in case.)
Former Immanuel Baptist/Schilling Farms pastor Scott Payne weighed in on Facebook yesterday. (How many times will this church change names, geez?)
Scott Payne's daughter Amanda posted her thoughts as well.
About a month after this announcement about the merger, Scott Payne's stated role changed to a "sabbatical."
In an audio recording, Highpoint Church lead pastor Chris Conlee, speaking to the survivors about sex abuse by Chris Carwile, states, "Sometimes it's best to not tell the truth because the truth can be harmful."
Silent no more:
In 1998, Immanuel Baptist Church hired a college student as a paid youth ministry intern. He worked with students through drama programs, worship services, and bible studies. He molested at least three youth at Immanuel that year in their sleep during sleepovers at his parents’ East Memphis home. The senior pastor of Immanuel worked diligently to cover up the abuse and, as a result, it went unreported to authorities and justice was never served. Their abuser went free. Those three boys, now men in their 30s, came forward to share their stories this week in the hopes that it will help save other boys from sexual abuse by this predator (and others) and that the Christian church will acknowledge its institutional failures and seek meaningful reform. Since sharing their stories, multiple new victims of the same perpetrator have come forward.
Michael Hansen - How the Church Conspired to Cover Up My Sexual Abuse
After three weeks of silence, we learned he had received the letter, and reached out to lawyers from the Southern Baptist Convention. The lawyers from the SBC told Thomas to “prepare for war.”
We hope that anyone else who has seen, suspected or suffered abuse by Chris Carwile will come forward and report to law enforcement, seek help to heal and protect others. Silence only helps perpetrators. Sexual abuse is a crime to be handled by law enforcement, not a spiritual matter of sin to be handled by pastors. Forgiveness is a personal, private decision. Protecting kids is a public mandate.
The light of truth and knowledge is our greatest tool to protect kids.
How to Report Sexual Abuse
NCMEC Cyber Tipline
Criminal statute of limitations for sex crimes information by state
Updated: local Memphis news coverage
Sex Abuse Claims Launch City Investigation Into Memphis Library Employee
City of Memphis library worker accused of sexual abuse, suspended
WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee
Local I-Team: Victims Claim Church Covered Up Child Abuse - Part 2 of @Local24Maria 's investigation https://t.co/KyKUN7YBWQ pic.twitter.com/zmprschrYd— Local 24 News (@LocalMemphis) November 16, 2016