In response to an explosive investigation, top Southern Baptists have released a previously secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse.
The 205-page database was made public late Thursday. It includes more than 700 entries from cases that largely span from 2000 to 2019.
Its existence became widely known Sunday when the independent firm, Guidepost Solutions, included it in its bombshell report detailing how the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee mishandled allegations of sex abuse, stonewalled numerous survivors and prioritized protecting the SBC from liability.
The Executive Committee redacted many of the names because there wasn’t evidence of conviction. Ten of the non-redacted cases listed in the database are from the Channel 9 viewing area. Channel 9 has been able to independently verify the following:
In court, Carter’s accuser said he sexually assaulted her at his home when she was 13 years old. She said she kept the secret for nearly a decade. Carter’s attorney said the former youth minister and school teacher admitted his crime during a session with a counselor and readily accepted his punishment.
Carter, a former East Lincoln high school and middle school music teacher, became the youth and music minister at Zion Baptist Church in Cherryville. He was convicted in Lincoln County in 2013 and sentenced to 22 to 36 months active. According to records from the North Carolina Department of Correction, he was released from prison on Nov. 3, 2019.
Hollifield was an associate in charge of youth at Piedmont Baptist Church when he was arrested in May 2015 and charged with 10 counts of statutory rape and four counts of taking indent liberties with children.
He pled guilty on all charges in 2016 and was sentenced under one consolidated charge of indecent liberties to 15 to 23 years in prison
Hughes was a full-time custodian at Avery County High School and the pastor at Jonas Ridge Baptist Church. Investigators said he sent two naked photos of himself to who he thought was a teenage girl and student at the high school. What Hughes didn’t know was deputies had taken over the student’s Facebook account -- the photos were never seen by the teenager, but ended up in the hands of deputies.
Hughes pleaded guilty to indecent liberties with a student and was sentenced to 4 to 14 months in prison and 12 months of supervised probation. He had a probation violation of the indecent liberties charge, and his probation was then extended 12 months. He was also required to complete the sex offender program.
In court, Keough was accused by several women of groping them when they came to the church for help. Keough was a pastor at King James Baptist Church in Bessemer City before he was found guilty of two counts of sexual battery. He did not go to prison and was instead given 18 months probation and had to register as a sex offender and provide a DNA sample as often requested.
After his conviction in 2010, Keough said he plans on continuing work at the Bessemer City church despite the fact that he must register as a sex offender. Keough faced several other charges, but has not gone to trial in the cases.
Marty Eugene Meadows
Meadows pled guilty to several indecent liberties charges dating back to 2002, according to the Gaston County clerk of courts.
A music director for more than 40 years at Camp Creek Baptist Church outside Lancaster, Rutledge pled guilty in 2015 to molesting a 10-year-old girl at his home. Prosecutors said it happened at least half a dozen times in 2013, but Rutledge pled guilty to one count and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
He was also accused of sexual abusing another young girl. He plead guilty to another sex charge, criminal sexual conduct with a minor third-degree, involving that 8-year-old child.
A former deacon at New Hope Baptist Church in Gastonia, Shives was accused of taking indecent liberties with two girls at his home in 2006. Prosecutors said Shives initiated a game of truth or dare with the girls that involved them taking off their clothes.
Shives pled not guilty and went to trial where he was sentenced to prison.
Way was a volunteer with the Stanly Baptist Association when he was accused of committing sex crimes against four boys while at the North Carolina Baptist Assembly in 2013. Way, who was also a substitute teacher in Stanly County, assaulted the boys who were between the ages of 10 and 13.
According to court documents, he forced the boys to play strip poker while Way was the chaperone on the youth group’s trip to church camp. Way was charged with 16 counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, four counts of indecent liberties with a child and four counts of employing, permitting or assisting an offense against a minor.
Channel 9 reached out to the Brunswick County clerk of courts for an update on the charges against Way.
In a statement Todd Unzicker, the executive director and treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, said Way’s behavior was wicked and sinful:
“In 2013 a Stanly County man committed criminal sexual acts against young boys, for which he was charged and convicted,” Unzicker said in an email. “The incidents happened at an N.C. Baptist camp and conference center, Fort Caswell, while he was serving as a youth chaperone for his local church. The man did not serve as a staff member or volunteer with Fort Caswell or the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Caswell staff cooperated fully with authorities during the investigation. What happened was wicked and sinful. Those boys were brave for coming forward with the truth about what was done to them.
“Sexual abuse is evil, and even today N.C. Baptists are doing everything in our power to prevent abuse and care for survivors. We currently have a comprehensive review underway, led by an independent firm, that will help us improve our policies, procedures and training materials on this matter. People will never trust the Good News we proclaim if they do not believe their sons and daughters are safe in our facilities. I pray for hope and healing for everyone affected by the pain of sexual abuse.”
An associate pastor at Reeder Memorial Baptist Church, Webber was accused of three counts of first degree rape and five counts of indecent liberties with a child. Webber was already a registered sex offender in the state of North Carolina before the allegations in 2008.
(WATCH BELOW: New lawsuit against Charlotte Diocese alleges it was aware of sexual abuse by priest)