Lawsuit Claims Arkansas Baptist State Convention Failed to Report Child Sex Abuse Allegations Against Pastor

A Southern Baptist leader in Arkansas has been accused of violating state law by failing to report allegations that a Hot Springs pastor sexually abused a minor on church property, according to a lawsuit filed in December. 

The civil lawsuit filed Dec. 16 accuses Arkansas Baptist State Convention Executive Director Sonny Tucker of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse to authorities after he was contacted by the ex-wife of Millcreek Baptist Church pastor Teddy Leon Hill about concerns that Hill might’ve been abusing minors.

It’s unknown whether Hill’s ex-wife, Carolyn Latham, made any attempt to contact the police to report her suspicions.

Attorney’s representing an unnamed plaintiff referred to as “John Doe” claim Hill met Doe when Doe came to the church at 13 years old seeking refuge from a troubled home. The lawsuit accuses Hill of sexually molesting and abusing Doe starting in 2014.

In 2016, Hill became Doe’s legal guardian, the lawsuit adds. Doe then moved into Millcreek’s parsonage, where Hill was living.

“Such abuse was perpetrated by Hill in his role as guardian, mentor, counselor and Pastor to Doe and occurred on the church property of Millcreek,” the lawsuit alleges. “The abuse perpetrated included multiple acts of sexual battery with Doe and involved deviate sexual activity.”

The lawsuit alleges that Latham contacted Tucker and ABSC in February 2018 to report her suspicion that Hill was sexually abusing Doe and possibly other minors. A few weeks later, Latham reportedly met with Tucker to discuss her accusations concerning Hill.

“Based on Ms. Latham’s reports to ABSC and Tucker, ABSC and Tucker had a reasonable basis to believe Hill had engaged in sexual conduct with a minor,” the lawsuit claims. “Regardless, neither Defendant ABSC nor Tucker reported Hill to the Child Advocacy Hotline.”

The lawsuit adds that illegal conduct allegedly continued “unabated” until July 2018, about two weeks before Hill resigned as the church’s senior pastor.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith