Former staffer at SBC mega-church focus of abuse investigation
CYPRESS, Texas (ABP) – A Texas youth minister already charged with statutory rape of a 16-year-old was arrested Dec. 14 for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages and videos to a 14-year-old girl he met while serving at a Southern Baptist mega-church.
Authorities said phone records show more than 15,000 text messages over a period of 11 months between Chad Foster, 33, and the young girl he met more than a year ago while he was a youth pastor at Second Baptist Church in Houston.
Second Baptist’s executive pastor did not immediately respond to an e-mail asking how long Foster worked at the church. In a blog last updated in March 2010, Foster said he worked with students at Second Baptist’s Cypress campus, one of five locations of the multi-site congregation led by former Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Young.
Authorities say Foster and the 14-year-old exchanged phone numbers and began sending each other text messages. After the girl got a computer, their conversations expanded to Facebook and video on Skype.
The communication continued after he left Second Baptist to become youth pastor at Community of Faith Church in Hockley, Texas, a community northwest of Houston, in January.
That’s where authorities say Foster met a 16-year-old girl, and their friendship quickly grew sexual. Local media quoted court documents alleging Foster had sexual relations with the girl on six occasions from July through October.
Foster reportedly told the girl not to tell anyone about their relationship, because it would get him in legal trouble, but she began to feel bad about it and told a teacher and an associate pastor about it. They contacted legal authorities, according to Fox affiliate KRIV channel 26.
"As a congregation, we are coping with the information,” said Donald Butler, executive pastor at Community of Faith told the station after Foster’s Nov. 3 arrest on charges of three counts of sex assault of a child. “We're pretty devastated. There's definitely a trust factor there that was breached.”
After the arrest, police found out about the 14-year-old, prompting a new investigation resulting in additional charges of online solicitation of a minor. Authorities say they want to talk to other possible victims. Houston television station KPRC said people have come forward with the names of at least seven other young girls, and that so far all of the tips were tied to Second Baptist Church.
The station said that some of the girls now live out of state, and some were reluctant to talk because they are nervous and afraid.
The KRIV report said Foster is no longer working on a church staff. He resigned his job at Community of Faith about a month before his first arrest, saying he was burned out.
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.
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