Many of us could not fathom how the evangelicals could be such avid supporters of President Trump, a man who himself acts like a predator. These investigative stories within the Southern Baptist church are mind-blowing. It seems that the president is not far removed from the acts by many in the cloth from organizations who support him.
Abuse of Faith: Southern Baptist churches harbored sex offenders (Part 5)
Pastor Ruben Garcia was arrested nearly two years ago in Hays County, prosecuted on charges of sexually assaulting a teenage girl and prohibited by a judge from being alone with children.
But the preacher kept his job at a Southern Baptist church.
Garcia, 60, sang hymns and taught kids about the Lord at Betania Baptist Church in Austin, a church so small that Sunday services feel more like a family gathering.
In February 2016, a teenage girl told police in the Austin suburb of Buda, where Garcia lives, that he put his hands down her pants and sexually assaulted her multiple times in the summers of 2013 and 2014, records show. Police arrested Garcia in June 2017, and he was later released on bond.
Then Garcia continued serving as co-pastor of his church, where few members of the congregation questioned the appropriateness of their spiritual leader remaining in his post with sexual-assault charges pending against him.
Their support continued in 2018 after Garcia pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and avoided prison — but was prohibited from being around children as part of the terms of his sentence.
“All I have to say is that I love him,” said Edel Perez, a longtime church member.
Garcia is hardly the only Southern Baptist pastor to stay in the pulpit after being accused of a sex crime. The Houston Chronicle confirmed that since the 1990s, at least 30 SBC churches were aware that a pastor, employee or volunteer had faced allegations of sexual misconduct in the U.S. — yet the churches hired them anyway or allowed them to continue serving in their spiritual roles.
The Southern Baptist would have you believe that because they are decentralized each church making their own choices is bogus. When they need to get together to fight against poor and middle-class policies, they very much able to unite and stay on point. They should use that same discipline to purge their predators.
See my take on part 4.