Brian Mitchell was the youth pastor at Community Road Baptist Church until he was recently convicted of four counts of rape. On Friday, a judge sentenced Mitchell to ten years in prison.
According to testimony, his 16 year old victim sought guidance from Mitchell. Then, Mitchell began sending text messages to the victim, even going so far as texting complaints about his marriage. At some point, church leaders became aware of the inappropriate relationship and asked Mitchell to stop contacting the girl.
Federal law lists church leaders as mandatory reporters in cases of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse of a child. However, no one reported Mitchell to police and he went on to rape the young girl while driving.
The church banned the girl and her family from services. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, she must apologize to the wife of her rapist before she or her family will be allowed to return. Because of these demands, the family has decided to stop going to church altogether.
Churches such as this do not rally around their victimized members. Instead, they protect the men who destroy the innocence of spiritually confused children. Throughout the past few decades, numerous similar cases have begun to surface.
In 2012, a judge sentenced Jack Schaap to twelve years in prison. Mr. Schaap was the pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond in Indiana. Schaap also had a sexual relationship with a 16 year old child. Currently, Schaap is petitioning to have his sentence overturned. According to him, the victim “seduced him”.
In 2007, police arrested Ronald Nichols of Horn Lake, MS. Nichols allegedly kissed and fondled a 16 year old girl. Nichols taught math at Grace Baptist School in Byhalia, MS. He also taught Sunday school at Bethel Baptist Church.
Both churches have ties with Community Road Baptist Church and all of these churches are part of the Independent Fundamental Baptist denomination. Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas is also a part of the IFB church.
A near constant production of rape victims are found among Baptist youth. Too many to report in one article, honestly. Victim blaming is a common response from IFB churches. IFB churches treat leaders as godlike and therefore infallible. Predators are rarely accountable in these churches.
Brian Mitchell is simply the latest in a long line of predators who remain protected under the title Man of God.