Southeastern Seminary student Justin Eugene Taylor charged with child sex abuse

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RALEIGH, N.C. (ABP) — Police have charged a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary student with sexually abusing a 10-year-old child at an after-hours YMCA program, re-emphasizing the growing problem of sex abuse among Southern Baptist clergy.It’s not the first time a student at the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated seminary has faced sex charges. In August, a former Southeastern student, Brian Goodrich, pleaded guilty to “indecent liberties” with young boys. At the time, Goodrich had been working as an intern at Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh.On Dec. 13, current student Justin Eugene Taylor, 27, was arrested on one count of indecent liberties with a child. He was released on a $40,000 bond.

Taylor worked at an after-hours YMCA program at Jones Dairy Elementary School, located near the seminary campus in Wake Forest, N.C. He has since been dismissed from the program.

Police reportedly believe the incident occurred Nov. 26 at the school. The arrest warrant said investigators had probable cause to believe Taylor “unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did attempt to take immoral, improper and indecent liberties against [a minor] for the purpose of arousing and gratifying sexual desire,” according to the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer.

Seminary officials have suspended Taylor, following the procedure for students charged with a serious crime, local CBS affiliate WRAL-TV reported.

The Southern Baptist Convention itself has struggled over the issue of clergy-related sexual abuse recently. Sex-abuse scandals in Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Kentucky have involved leaders at SBC churches.

Victims’ advocates have called for nationwide investigations into the apparent causes of the problem, particularly into allegations that church officials perpetuate abuse by covering up sex offenses of ministers. SBC leaders have expressed sympathy but say the autonomy of local congregations and the lack of a denominational hierarchy stymie strict enforcement efforts.


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