John Langworthy criminal trial in Mississippi

*UPDATE* Langworthy pleads guilty  

If you were a victim of Langworthy’s child sex crimes in Dallas, please call Doreen in the Dallas police department at 214-671-4211. The Dallas police department wants to hear from you and she’ll be expecting your call. Doreen is the report intake specialist for the child abuse/exploitation unit and is a trained counselor.

If you were or are a victim of Langworthy's child sex crimes in Mississippi, please call Josh Frazier in the Clinton Police Department at 601-925-6106 or the main number and ask for Josh at 601-924-5252.

December 18, 2012- UPDATE: Judge rules Langworthy will face trial

See here for the latest update as of Nov. 26, 2012.

The criminal trial of confessed child molesting minister John Langworthy, originally set for April 2, has been scheduled for *July 30 in Hinds County in Jackson, Mississippi. He is charged with 8 felony counts of gratification of lust for 5 victims, boys between the ages of 8-12. This abuse took place in Clinton and Jackson, MS between 1980-84 while he served at 2 area Baptist churches, First Baptist Jackson and Daniel Memorial Baptist Church, while he was attending Mississippi College. 

Langworthy confessed these crimes of child sexual abuse from the pulpit of Morrison Heights Baptist Church on August 7, 2011. He was arrested and indicted in September. In addition to the child sex crimes for which he is indicted, Langworthy also confessed to molesting minor boys at his previous employer, Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, where he was the youth music minister from 1984-89.

Though the Prestonwood church staff, including then and current head pastor, Dr. Jack Graham, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as Neal Jeffrey, then youth pastor, and some adult volunteers, heard directly from victims and heard Langworthy confess to this molestation in the summer of 1989, they did not report these crimes to the police as required by state law.

Under Texas law, ministers and clergy are required to report any suspected child abuse ― sexual or otherwise ― to authorities within 48 hours of being told, otherwise they too are committing a criminal offense. A child is defined as anyone under the age of 18.

They had a few of the victims sit down with church attorneys to give statements about the abuse. These statements were not reported to law enforcement so that an investigation could take place and more victims identified and helped, and other kids protected. The church congregation has never been informed by the church staff of this confessed child molester that was in their midst, preying upon their children. Parents and their kids that were in the youth ministry while Langworthy was at Prestonwood have never been told the truth by Dr. Graham. (See the Associated Baptist Press story "Abuse confession raises question of cover-up by Baptist mega-church")

Langworthy was fired by Prestonwood and allowed to move back to an unsuspecting community in his home state of Mississippi where he promptly began working with kids teaching music in Clinton public schools, first an elementary school, then junior high and high school. He also became the music minister at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton where he worked until his resignation at the end of May 2011 a few months prior to his public confession there.

you should know about child sexual offenders: 

It is critical that anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered sex crimes by John Langworthy come forward, contact law enforcement, get help, start healing, seek justice immediately, and protect others, no matter how long ago or how recent the abuse occurred. Keep in mind that your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others. You can call 911 to report and you will be directed to the appropriate authorities. 

If you were abused by Langworthy in Dallas, or have information about these crimes, please call the Dallas Police Department Child Exploitation Unit at 214-671-4211. This line is answered by a trained counselor who will take your report.

Texas Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-5400

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), then push 1 to talk to a hotline counselor. 

If you were abused by Langworthy in Mississippi and/or have information about his child sex crimes there, please call 911, the local police where the abuse occurred, or contact Jamie McBride, the assistant Hinds County District Attorney at 601-968-6568. He is handling the criminal case of Langworthy there. To report abuse in Clinton, you can call Josh Frazier in the Clinton Police Department at 601-924-5252. 

MS abuse hotline 1-800-222-8000 (, or MS crimestoppers 1-888-8-CRIMES (1-888-827-4637), 601-355-TIPS (8447) to submit an anonymous tip by phone, email

If I can be of any assistance, please contact me at I am the Houston leader for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

Two educators in Cobb County, Georgia arrested and fired for failure to report suspected child sex abuse.

And today, we have a message for anyone who sees, suspects or suffers child abuse – sexual or physical. Healing, justice and prevention are possible. But you must step forward. You need not reveal your identity or sacrifice your privacy. But you must act. Staying silent helps only the predators.

*Updated: Trial date is set for Nov. 26

SNAP statement on Langworthy's indictment (read the full statement here):
We hope that the actions taken today will encourage other victims who may have been suffering in silence to come forward, get help, tell their story and start healing. Given the nature of the crimes that he committed in both Clinton and Jackson, we are sure that there are others may have seen or suspected his crimes, and we urge them to come forward as well. Silence is a predator’s best weapon, and we are grateful to those who broke their silence to ensure that justice is served.

Judge to rule on minister's sex abuse charges

My interview on WJTV: Former minister wants child sex case thrown out


There's a common denominator in JL's history who seems to have flown under the radar throughout all this mess, namely one Harold T. "Hal" Kitchings, Jr. Langworthy is 50. Kitchings is 51. Both went to Mississippi College. Kitchings was at one time youth and activities pastor of Daniel Memorial Baptist. It's unclear whether this was during the same time Langworthy was there, but considering they're about the same age and were both at early stages in their careers, it was likely during the same time period. More importantly, Kitchings was the senior pastor of Morrison Heights Baptist when Langworthy was hired there. While this in no way excuses his lack of action, Greg Belser merely inherited JL.

All this is NOT to cast aspersions on Hal Kitchings. I'm just saying in all the investigating it seems someone should be questioning what, if anything, Kitchings knew about JL's proclivities. I mean, the first sentence out of JL's mouth during his "confession" my gaydar pinged like a Geiger counter. Kitchings had to have known him for years. I find it hard to believe he at least never had his suspicions.
And, I might add, Kitchings' apparent failure to properly vet JL 20+ years ago in no way lessens the seriousness of the failure of Jack Graham and others at Prestonwood who knew of his actions to report him to the police and to warn MHBC.

Nor does it diminish the failure of TPTB at the time at Clinton Public School District for not thoroughly checking his past before hiring him to work with children. It also doesn't excuse Phillip Burchfield for not reporting JL to the authorities and immediately removing him from ALL contact with children, "supervised" or not.

Surely JL listed Prestonwood as a previous employer, so either the right questions weren't asked or everyone there chose to sweep this thing under the rug.

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