A Southern Baptist mega-church held up as an example for taking a hard line three years ago against a staff member arrested for soliciting sex from a police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl now stands accused of covering up a similar case in the late 1980s. John Langworthy, former youth minister at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Miss., confessed past sins to the congregation Aug. 7. Langworthy had resigned earlier, citing “mental and emotional reasons.”
“Prior to coming to Clinton 22 years ago, while serving at a church in Mississippi and then Texas, I had sexual indiscretions with younger males,” Langworthy told the congregation. “These decisions were ungodly, and I deeply regret them.”
And now the worse part-
The admission culminated a year-long campaign by a former close friend of Langworthy who was on staff as a college intern at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas in 1989, when she says he confessed to molesting boys in the church. Amy Smith, who now lives in Houston, says church leaders fired Langworthy and told him to leave town but did not report him to the police as required by a Texas law enacted in 1971. After holding a couple of secular jobs, Langworthy returned to his home state of Mississippi, landing the job at Morrison Heights Baptist Church while moonlighting as a choir director at Clinton High School.
There’s a lot more. The gist, a big church in Texas knew the fellow was a molester and didn’t report him. Hence, it enabled him to perpetrate further crimes. It’s completely wrong, and even evil. And then he only admitted his behaviors because forced to, not because he wished to- meaning that if there had been no pressure, he would still be in his Church job.
It’s just so discouraging. People should act right, and so should churches. They shouldn’t overlook evil- that only allows it to perpetuate itself.