, 22 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Coming next... a long, personal thread about a pedophile #SBCtoo 1/
Years and years ago, someone I care about very deeply was sexually molested by Allen Kelsey, a deacon in a local Southern Baptist church. An investigation revealed that this was not the first time he had violated a child. 2/
Apparently, he had been asked to quietly leave other churches after being accused of the same thing. None of those churches protected their children, or the future children Kelsey would come in contact with. 3/
Thankfully, courage persisted in the life of the one I care about, charges were pressed, Kelsey was convicted, and he served time in jail. Sometime after Kelsey was released from prison, he became involved in another local Southern Baptist Church. 4/
I do not know the full nature of his involvement, nor do I know whether or not that church knew of his conviction. I do know they made space for Kelsey, a convicted pedophile, to be a leader in their congregation, even appointing him as an officer of their legal corporation. 5/
After reading the Houston Chronicle investigation, I am compelled to not let this story go to waste. The stories the newspaper shared mirror the experience of the person I cared about. There is already too much tragedy, but maybe by sharing this story, I can help prevent more. 6/
I reached out to someone who is charged with helping churches navigate situations like this. I told the story, in far more detail than I am willing to share publicly, and received all the right answers in response.

"I am sorry for your experience." 7/
"We have been training on this issue for years."
"No one works with child without a background check."
"I'll pray for you."

I was feeling like this had been a good conversation until I made my main point 8/
No one who has been convicted of sexually molesting a minor should be allowed to serve in leadership of the local church. That is where my heart broke... I was told, "we have to consider the whole of scripture in situations like this." 9/
Words like redemption and mercy were thrown in for good measure.

To the best of my knowledge, he never repented of his crime. He never asked for forgiveness from the person he wronged. Even if he had, it is not asking too much that someone who has spent time in prison for molesting a child be barred from any authority within the church. 11/
By placing that man in a leadership role, he was imbued with a certain amount of trust.
Congregations should be able to have faith that their leaders, whether they work directly with minors or not, can be trusted. 12/
Had this experience happened within the 20 year window of the @HoustonChron investigation, it would not have been discovered by them because there is no journalistic record of Allen Kelsey's connection to a Southern Baptist church. 13/
Because of this, I am certain their numbers are ultra conservative and the problem is much broader than they were able to demonstrate. (Though I do appreciate their journalistic restraint in only reporting on what they could verify.) 14/
I am sharing this because @jdgreear has released an official response & I want people to see it. I am glad to see forward movement from the SBC to address this problem but know that it will ultimately fall on local churches to protect the children and families in their care. 15/
We can't ignore this problem. My family will be at the convention meeting in Alabama next summer and I am looking forward to seeing significant progress being made on holding individuals and churches accountable for dealing with sex crimes, particularly against minors. 16/
If you or someone you love has been hurt by a church member, I am deeply sorry. You have my prayers and my promise to do what I can. nytimes.com/2019/02/18/us/… 17/17
I'm compelled to update this thread. Heartbroken to have confirmed this morning that the church Allen Kelsey attended in the final 5 years of his life appointed him as Head Deacon with the pastor's full knowledge of his conviction as a pedophile. #sbctoo 18/
The pastor took the word of guilty child molester that he had repented and sought forgiveness from victim. The pastor protected the criminal and not the families in his care. He defended Kelsey against members who disagreed by telling them, "It is none of your business." 19/

None of a church members business that the second most powerful man in the church had a preference for little boys?

You mean a man can be a deacon if he is guilty of divorce, but it is okay if he likes to play with little boys bodies? 20/
(Allen Kelsey had never been divorced, but he certainly was not a faithful husband.)

That pastor, and every other one who passed him on over the years, is as guilty as Allen Kelsey in my opinion. 21/
Disfellowship seems like a reasonable consequence for the pride of thinking you know a man's heart better than those he victimized.
#sbcchat #sbcvoices #sbc19 #churchtoo 22/22
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