May 19, 2024


Veteran Baby Makers

33 Alabama church personnel on Southern Baptist’s accused abuser list

ALABAMA (WHNT) – Leaders at the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, released a list of hundreds of pastors, employees and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse.

In the 205-page list there are over 700 entries from cases that span mostly from 2000 to 2019. Some of those entries discuss accusations made against pastors, volunteers and other employees at churches across Alabama.

The release of the list came in the wake of a withering investigative report that found SBC leadership ignored sexual abuse claims and vilified survivors who came forward.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has worked with SBC abuse survivors for many years. SNAP representative John Brown said the release of this list may help the public know when sexual predators are leading congregations.

However, many of the more than 700 names listed are redacted.

“They’re not completely forthcoming,” Brown said. “The list provided here is mainly ministers that have been arrested and convicted.”

Brown said, while the release of this is a step forward, he hopes to see SBC provide more support for survivors and protection for members of an affected church.

In a statement released Friday, SNAP leaders condemned the past actions of the SBC.

“These church leaders have long put the reputations of their convention and themselves ahead of the protection of their own communities. Releasing a few names, most of which have already been revealed publicly, is no signal that things are substantially different today. For there to be true transparency, for survivors to have a shot at justice and for children to be protected from abusers, secular law enforcement must act.”

Mike McDonnell, SNAP Spokesman

SNAP called for attorneys general across the United States to open investigations into SBC-related abuse.

On the list, there are a total of 33 Alabama church officials who have been reported and the year the report was made. Here are their entries:

  • Ralph Lee Aaron, 54, pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship and former pastor of Victory Baptist Church, in Andalusia, agreed to consecutive life terms in prison for production of child pornography and first-degree sodomy of multiple 8 to 12-year-old males. He is a registered sex offender. Aaron was investigated in 2005 while pastor of a Southern Baptist church. Reported in 2009.
  • Daniel Montague Acker, Jr., a school teacher and school bus driver who retired in 2009, admitted to sexually abusing 20 girls during his 25-year tenure. He was sentenced to serve 17 years in prison for eight counts of child sexual abuse. His release date is scheduled for January 1, 2029. In 1992, Acker was also accused of touching a minor for sexual gratification; however, the grand jury did not indict him. In 2016, he admitted to the abuse. In 1992, Acker was also serving as youth pastor at Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster. He was also a music and youth minister at Mayberry Baptist Church in Montevallo and served as a camp counselor at the Alabama Baptist Boys Camp. Reported in 2012.
  • Charles Kyle Adcock, was a youth minister and worship pastor for Woodward Avenue Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals from 2010-2012. He pleaded guilty in 2016 and was charged with 29 counts of rape and sodomy against a teenage girl. Adcock was sentenced to a 10-year prison sentence, split with 15 months to serve in state prison. He registered as a sex offender in Arkansas for the sodomy conviction. Reported in 2014.
  • John Lankston Anderson Jr., former pastor, Carbon Hill First Baptist, was charged with three counts of first-degree sexual abuse of juveniles under the age of 12, pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to three years. Immediately transferred to Arkansas, where he pleaded guilty to another sex abuse charge and was sentenced to 10 more years. Served prison sentences in both states. He was a pulpit preacher at Southside in Russellville, Natural Bridge Baptist, West Blocton Baptist, Hartselle Baptist, and other churches in Mississippi. He is on the sex offender registry in Tennessee. Reported in 2002.
  • Charles Andrews, an ex-teacher and minister of a Baptist church in Jefferson County, received a sentence of probation after pleading guilty in 2006, to sexually abusing a student in 2005. In 2008, after failing to respond to a lawsuit that accused Charles Andrews, a federal judge ordered Andrews to pay $2.5 million in punitive damages and $500,000 in compensation. The exact church Andrews worked for was not named in the list. Reported in 2006.
  • REDACTED, assistant pastor, REDACTED, was charged with raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old. A second victim has led to additional charges. He also faced charges of parole violation. In 2001, he was convicted of first-degree robbery and served prison time from August 2002-2009. Reported in 2014.
  • James L. Bevel attended American Baptist Theological Seminary but the report states he is not thought to be SBC. In 2005 Bevel was accused of abuse by four people. He was tried in April 2008. Bevel was convicted of unlawful fornication; pursuant to the recommendation of the jury, which could have sentenced him to anywhere from 5 to 20 years, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $50,000. After serving seven months he was freed awaiting an appeal; he died of pancreatic cancer in December 2008 and was buried in Eutaw, Alabama. Reported in 2005.
  • Howard Blattel, a 65-year-old former Bolingbrook resident and Marquette Manor Baptist Church deacon, was charged in Alabama with sexually assaulting an 89-year-old woman in 2004. Reported in 2007.
  • Walter John “Jay” Bowen, 68, former minister of music and radio station owner and personality, was arrested for sexual abuse of a child younger than 12 and sentenced to 10 years in prison based on a plea agreement that dropped a second sex abuse case involving another child younger than 12. He was convicted of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old and sentenced to 10 years. As part of the plea bargain, prosecutors agreed to drop a second sex abuse case. His prison release date was in 2019 and he is listed in Alabama as a registered sex offender. Reported in 2009.
  • Gregory “Lee” Bowman, 30, health and wellness minister for both adult and youth recreation programs at Eden Westside Baptist Church in Pell City, pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual abuse of a 14-year-old juvenile and was sentenced to serve a 12-month split sentence and required to serve 24 months on supervised probation. He pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual abuse in August 2010 and is a registered sex offender in Alabama. Reported in 2010.
  • Charles Brown, of London Baptist Church in Evergreen, was convicted of abusing a teenage boy in 1986. Brown was convicted of a reduced misdemeanor charge and given a suspended sentence. Reported in 1986.
  • Fred Robert Chambers in 1998 was convicted of four counts of second-degree sodomy with a 14-year-old boy. He was a volunteer church leader; the church was not named. Reported in 1998.
  • Stanley Daniel, the pastor of El-Bethel Baptist Church and Pearls of Promise Girls Academy in Rock Stand, pleaded guilty to first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy and two counts of distribution of obscene material. Reported in 2008.
  • Mack Allen Davis, former youth minister, Lakeside Baptist Church, was sentenced to 35 years in 2015 for three counts of sodomy and four counts of sexual abuse, with victims in three different counties, He is in an Alabama state prison. Reported in 2015.
  • Garret Albert Dykes, 38, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Wetumpka, pleaded guilty to 13 sex-related charges against two girls under the age of 10. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison for a federal child porn case. Reported in 2006.
  • Jeffery Dale Eddie, was a children’s minister at Highland Park Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals, pleaded guilty to 20 charges, including sodomy, sexual abuse of a child under 12 and possession of child pornography, according to federal civil court documents. He is serving a 30-year sentence in Alabama state prison. Reported in 2014.
  • Zachary Reed Emerson, a part-time youth employee at East Memorial Baptist Church, in Prattville, was convicted of enticing a child for immoral purposes in Alabama in 2011. He is a registered sex offender in Florida. Reported in 2009.
  • Luis Federico Garcia, a pastor of Spanish ministries at First Baptist Church in Pelham, pleaded guilty to three charges of first-degree sexual abuse involving three girls younger than 12 years old. He is a registered sex offender after he was convicted in 2007 of three counts of sexual abuse in Shelby County. The list states he admitted to molesting 23 victims between the ages of 5-13. Reported in 2006.
  • Jason Michael Hankins, a former staff member at Shades Crest Baptist Church’s Family Life Center in Birmingham, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a child and 20 more years for possessing child pornography. He will remain on supervised release for the rest of his life. Reported in 2016.
  • John Edgar Harris, a former employee of Glynwood Baptist Church in Prattville, pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and facilitating the travel of a child for an unlawful sex act. Reported in 2017.
  • Henry Hobson, pastor of Moffett Road Baptist Church in Mobile, admitted guilt for abusing a 14-year-old girl in 1991. Attorneys apparently reached an agreement between Hobson and the victim just before a civil case went to a jury. Reported in 1993.
  • Michael Likos was a registered sex offender while being the church piano player at Seventh Street Baptist Church in Cullman. Likos had previous convictions in Louisiana and Mississippi for crossing a state line to engage in sexual contact with a minor. In 2006, Likos was indicted on sexual abuse in the first degree. Reported in 2008.
  • “2010 REDACTED, youth pastor, REDACTED, arrested on charges of inappropriate sexual relationship,” the list says. Reported in 2010.
  • Timothy Chun-Chuck Mann, minister at First Baptist Church in Gaithersburg and choir director at Shades Crest Baptist Church in Hoover, is a registered sex offender in Alabama. He pleaded guilty to child abuse of a 14-year-old female in Maryland in 2008 and was sentenced to 13 years with seven years in confinement with the rest suspended, according to Maryland court records. Reported in 2008.
  • Billy Paul Masters, pastor of Harvest Baptist Church in Boaz, was charged with first-degree sexual abuse of a boy under 12. He also faced a parole violation in connection with a 2001 conviction of sodomy involving three boys. Following his release from prison in 2007, Masters registered as a sex offender. Reported in 2009.
  • James “Javie” Vernon McNeal, children’s minister of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Hazel Green, was convicted of two felony sex offenses and sentenced to 40 years in 2018, according to Alabama prison records. Reported in 2016.
  • Ralph Randall Melton, pastor of Prospect Baptist Church in Wilsonville in 2004 and former pastor of New Salem Baptist Church and Big Springs Baptist Church in Chilton County along with his wife were charged and pleaded guilty to raping and sodomizing children in 1975-87. They were sentenced to more than three months in prison followed by 36 months probation. Prior to his death on June 14, 2018, together with his wife, Cathy, both registered sex offenders for child rape convictions in Alabama in 2005. (Cathy Melton is still a registered sex offender). Their victims were a 1-year-old male and a 16-year-old female. Reported in 2006.
  • Douglas Myers, 57, former pastor of Triangle Community Church in Tavares, Florida, and former pastor of Harbor Baptist Fellowship in Eustis, Florida and Concord Baptist Church in Russellville, and Bayside Baptist Church in Chesapeake Beach pleaded guilty to abusing a 13-year- old boy, a church members’ grandson, in 2006. He was sentenced to seven years in prison in Florida in 2007. After being released, he was convicted in 2012 in Maryland of child abuse for offenses that occurred in 1997, 1999 and 2001. He was serving a 15-year sentence in Maryland and faced a related civil lawsuit. Reported in 2007.
  • Donald Brent Page, 33, was a former youth pastor, at Dogwood Grove Baptist Church in Montevallo, and former youth minister of Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster and a youth worker at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Birmingham (now The River Church). In 2007, traveled from Alabama to Tennessee to have sex with what he thought to be a 13-year-old girl but was actually a Memphis FBI Crimes Against Children Task Force Member. He was charged with traveling to Tennessee to have sex with a minor. Reported in 2008.
  • Marshal A. Seymour, 40, a volunteer youth minister at FBC at the Mall in Lakeland, Florida, and former youth minister at Parkway Assembly of God in Mobile faced charges of unlawful sexual activity and three counts of using a child in a sexual performance. He pleaded guilty to assault. The church background check did not show a previous 1999 Mobile assault conviction which was a misdemeanor. In 1999, Seymour moved to Lakeland and began volunteering at FBC at the Mall. He is a registered sex offender in Florida. As part of a plea agreement, he was convicted of three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and one charge of directing a sexual performance of a child. He was released in 2016. Reported in 2009.
  • Gary Ladell Smitherman, a youth minister at Friendship Baptist Church in Clanton, was found guilty of one count of sexual abuse of a child and sentenced to 20 years in 2018. He is incarcerated in Alabama. Reported in 2018.
  • Jay Clair Strickland, a former administrative pastor of Sharon Heights Baptist Church in Brookside, was convicted of first-degree sodomy in Jefferson County in 2016. He is a registered sex offender. Reported in 2016.
  • Christopher Cody Stutts, a youth minister at Westwood Baptist Church in Birmingham, was arrested for sexual abuse of a child under age 12 over the course of more than three years. A grand jury heard indicted Stutts on the initial charges of sexual abuse of a child younger than 12 and second-degree sodomy. The grand jury also added additional charges of first-degree sodomy, second-degree rape and another second-degree sodomy charge. Stutts was fired following his arrest. Reported in 2018.

Some information in the report was redacted before its release.