A pastor slammed on social media for comments about abuse allegations involving his church has apologized for his tone-deaf response.
Stan Allcorn, pastor of Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas, issued a “clarifying statement” on the church website about an e-mail he sent to the congregation “after news broke that an individual who last worked in our ministry 23 years ago had been arrested in Tennessee on charges linked to a child sex crime allegation.”
In the e-mail widely shared on social media, Allcorn described the suspect as “my friend” and “Christian brother” with whom he had worked together in two revivals.
“We do not have all the facts surrounding this situation,” the pastor counseled. “We do not know the full story. I would urge against speculation and for compassion toward all involved.”
After condemnation on social media and criticism reported by the press, Allcorn said Thursday he “never intended to downplay the severity of the charges detailed in the arrest warrant or to diminish any victim of childhood sexual abuse or their families.”
“I now realize that my words did both of those things,” the pastor said. “I also understand that my words caused many people both inside and outside of the Pioneer Drive family to be hurt and angry.”
“I understand my words were insensitive, and they did not convey what is truly in my heart,” Allcorn confessed. He said Pioneer Drive “will not protect those who harm children” and that child safety “is our top priority.”
“Pioneer Drive is committed to protecting children and to ministering to anyone who has been traumatized by sexual abuse,” he said. “If you or someone in your family is a victim, Pioneer Drive will pray for you, serve and protect you, and help you in the healing process.”