By Bob Allen
A Southern Baptist church in Alabama pledged to cooperate with police following the arrest of a former youth minister charged with sexually abusing a girl younger than 16 and urged anyone with knowledge about the case to come forward.
Woodward Avenue Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals, Ala., posted a statement on the church website Aug. 21 saying the congregation is “deeply saddened” by news of Wednesday’s arrest of Charles Kyle Adcock, 31, the church’s former student pastor and interim worship pastor, on 22 counts of second-degree rape and nine counts of second-degree sodomy.
According to local media, Adcock, who goes by the first name of Kyle, was arrested in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on a warrant issued out of Alabama. He is under arrest at the Frisco City Jail with a $500,000 bond and awaiting extradition to face charges after a girl told police that Adcock sexually abused her between 2010 and 2012, beginning when she was 14. Police said the alleged abuse happened both at the church and at Adcock’s residence in Muscle Shoals.
According to Internet archives, Adcock, a graduate of Dallas Baptist University, became involved in student ministry in 2002 and joined the staff at Woodward Avenue Baptist Church in 2008. He worked as a financial adviser in Little Rock, Ark., beginning in October 2012 and recently moved to another firm in Frisco, Texas.
Woodward Avenue Baptist Church leaders initially declined to comment, beyond saying that no current employees worked there when Adcock was youth minister. On Aug. 21 the church released the following statement:
“The congregation of Woodward Avenue Baptist Church is deeply saddened by the news that unfolded yesterday regarding a former staff member. Our first priority is to offer prayer for the victim and her family. We are willing to work with law enforcement agencies in any way necessary to help in their investigation and would encourage anyone with information about the case to contact law enforcement. Woodward Avenue Baptist Church is committed to having a positive influence in the Shoals and beyond.”
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, outreach director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, urged Baptist church officials to publicly share what they know about Adcock and when they knew it, and applauded the bravery of the victim who reported the alleged abuse.
“It is through the brave actions of victims that dangerous predators are kept away from children,” Dorris said. “We hope his arrest will give courage to anyone who may have seen, suspects, or suffered sexual abuse to call authorities.”
A deacon told Huntsville television station WAFF 48 that Woodward Avenue Baptist Church recently tightened up its child-protection polices in response to another child sex abuse case at a church in the same community.
In February, police arrested Jeff Eddie, longtime pastor for children and church administration at Highland Park Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals, on 31 counts of second-degree sodomy, three counts of sexual abuse of a child under 12 and two counts of possession of child pornography. Eddie pleaded guilty March 7 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
During questioning, Eddie reportedly told police that he had sexually abused so many children over the years that he couldn’t remember the number. In July an anonymous male who claims he was victimized by Eddie filed a lawsuit against both his alleged perpetrator and the church that hired him.
Citing local church autonomy, the Southern Baptist Convention does not provide any denomination-wide safeguards to detect and defrock clergy predators but encourages local congregations to perform background checks and contact former employers before hiring new ministers.