An 85-year-old former Baptist deacon from Texas has admitted to sexually abusing two young girls, and authorities say there are already more victims on the horizon.
Charles Sweet, who served at Hays Hills Baptist Church, was charged with two counts of indecency with a child. He admitted some pretty disgusting things, too.
According to the affidavits, Sweet admitted to the crimes against multiple young girls in Hays and Travis counties. At another point in his interview with detectives he said he “is attracted to girls younger than 12 years old.”
The church released a statement saying Sweet was stripped of his membership and barred from even attending, after a 14-year-old girl made an outcry to Pastor David Sweet, who is Charles Sweet’s son. That was September of 2012, but no charges were filed then. It is one of the two cases in Travis County filed Wednesday.
In January of this year, another woman made an outcry that Sweet had molested her as a young girl in a trailer where they held their youth ministries.
The church is acting like it deserves credit for barring Sweet from attending services… even though they didn’t push for criminal charges when they first heard about allegations of abuse. They are basically admitting to a major cover-up. In fact, they only told church members at the time that Sweet was removed for a “grievous sin” without going into further detail.
If there is a bright side to this tragic story, it’s that police are taking the claims seriously.
Detectives say the investigation is not done. “The investigation both here and in Hays County revealed that there’s multiple other now adult female survivors,” Det. Guevara said. “He also victimized some here in Austin at his residence and then also in Hays County.”
Authorities say Sweet, like many religious figures who abuse children, targeted them through bible study and tutoring. He was able to gain their trust as a God-sent leader, which is common, according to Survivors Network volunteer Carol Midboe.
“(Predators) go into faith communities, which is highly trusting of individuals, the children and adults are less likely to have conversations about safe and unsafe touch or even have conversations about sexual abuse because it’s been a taboo topic for so many generations,” she said…
Midboe encourages parents to talk to their kids about where it’s inappropriate for a child to be touched. And if your child goes to camp, ask questions about the camp’s child protection policies.
“Are they doing background checks on their volunteer staff, are they doing federal level or state level. Are they collecting fingerprints,” she said.
These are important questions to ask. If only other church leaders had cared about these things before the list of victims grew longer.
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