Florida Baptist accused of negligence in Lake County sexual molestation case
Posted in the Tavares Forum
#1 May 10, 2012
Florida Baptist Convention accused of negligence in Lake County sexual molestation case
TAVARES — More than six years after a 13-year-old boy was sexually abused by a Baptist preacher, a jury this week is hearing a case to determine whether the Florida Baptist Convention is liable for failing to find out about past allegations of sexual abuse against the minister.
The Eustis boy and his mother are asking jurors to find the statewide Baptist group — comprising nearly 3,000 congregations and 1 million members in Florida — negligent for not thoroughly researching Douglas W. Myers, who is serving a seven-year prison sentence for molestation.
Though he had no prior criminal charges, Myers faced allegations of abuse at churches in Maryland and Alabama, according to court testimony. Officials with the Baptist organization said the convention didn't "hire" Myers to be a minister and that a background check turned up nothing.
"We did not put him here," former missions director Cecil Seagle testified. "We didn't recruit him. We didn't place him."
Jurors will have to decide what responsibility should rest with the Baptist convention, which trained Myers and gave him grant money to open new churches in Lake County. Myers started Harbor Baptist Fellowship in Howey-in-the-Hills and later Triangle Community Church in Eustis. Both are now defunct.
Myers, 63, pleaded guilty to molesting the Eustis boy over a six-month period in 2005. Before coming to Florida, he served as pastor of Dunkirk Baptist Church in Dunkirk, Md., and then briefly headed Concord Baptist Church in Russellville, Ala.
Jurors have heard testimony from church leaders in Maryland and Alabama that Myers faced allegations of inappropriate behavior with young boys. A Maryland youth minister gave a sworn statement that his son was abused and a former deacon at the Alabama church said Myers had taken children on a skinny-dipping trip and cornered a 10-year-old boy for inappropriate contact. None of the allegations resulted in criminal charges, though they were known among church members.
Gary R. Schoener, a Minnesota clinical psychologist who has testified in other cases involving sexual exploitation by clergy, said the statewide group should have done more.
"Had they had not in fact approved of him, he would not be in Florida doing that work," he testified. "The reality was they were the party that could have said no."
Circuit Judge G. Richard Singeltary ruled jurors to disregard the statement because Schoener had delved into whether Myers was an "agent" of the Baptist convention, or someone who is an authority or official representative.
Seagle expressed regret over what happened but said the Baptist group did what it could.
"We had nothing in anything we had seen that would suggest a moral impropriety," he said. "Of course, we are sad about it. It hurts my heart."
#6 Jun 3, 2014
Florida's premier sex abuse victim's attorney Jeff Herman in launching aanew weekly web cast for the victims of sex abuse. Won't you please join him and we urge all victims of sex abuse and more especially those abused by people who tryly belive they are above the law!
#8 Jun 7, 2014
The pencil dick f*ggot is a p*ssy bottom b*itch homo who has a "penchant" and love affair with pedophilia.
He is an LCSO employee so I won't say anything, but is has nothing to do with the "Michael" name that I hate so much. Yup, it has nothing to do with that. He was born without a c*ck so he has to take d*ck up the a*s all his life because he doesnt have a c*ck to f*ck with. Bottom b*tch for life.
Besides that, the f*ggot is lucky he is not sued up the a*s on top of being criminally charged and his position striped for not taking a threat on my life seriously!
The f*ggot is double-dog lucky that being crucified is not an option in this age any longer! But hey, I guess being born without a penis really does turn out to be a fate worse than death lol
LCSO needs help, like, divine intervention help. No money,, No ethics within certain departments, Few good people. Don't take my word for it, even the agency's BEST MAN quit to go work for Clermont. That's gotta mean that something is really wrong, right???
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