According to the news reports, an "anonymous person" within the church reported the allegations, which led to an investigation and the arrest of the two men. The pastor's son is accused of molesting a 13-year old boy on church property for several years on at least 20 occasions, including during Bible study - the other man is accused of molesting a girl at knife-point.
The allegations go back over 10 years. The Assistant State Attorney is fighting for very high bail amounts for fear of retalliation against the victims if the men are out. This fear apparently stems from a monitored phone call between the victim and the pastor's son where he told his victim: "Your foolishness is going to destroy the ministry. The devil wants to destroy us all....this foolishness must be put in the past. Get over it. Forgive. Move on."
Same old story. Blame the victim. You'll destroy the ministry. You're doing the devil's work. Get over it. Move on.
In fact, not reported in either of the written news reports, but reported on the video report by TV reporter Diane Cho at News4Jax:
This is unfathomable...after the two very high profile church sex scandals here in Jacksonville over the past 5 years at Trinity Baptist Church and Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church - church members still don't listen to kids who claim they were abused?An interesting aspect of this story is the anonymity of the person who reported this to the police, who appears to be a concerned church member who wanted to see justice served. According to the prosecutor: "They love their church. It's all they've ever known...what their fears are are being made to feel like they've done something wrong and that they're at fault." But this is the same story over and over again - those who report the abuse - whether it be the victim themselves or someone else who has decided to take action - they are blamed by church members as the cause of the unrest in the church and are hated and told to be quiet and not cause trouble. I'm glad the Assistant State Attorney recognizes the need for the anonymity of the whistle-blower, as sadly, they too can face retribution from church members.
By the way, I first heard of this story at Tiffany Croft's blog yesterday as she provided a hyperlink to the breaking story, which is her first post in over 7 months. You might want to visit her site, and I'm sure Christa Brown will follow this story as well.
Interestingly, the COOLJC denominational leaders from all over the country are meeting here in Jacksonville in April for their "71st International Congress" - they are all staying down at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront.