Prestonwood Baptist Church has become the center of activity when it comes to collecting signatures to repeal the new Plano nondiscrimination ordinance and capture the title of most homophobic church in the Metroplex from First Baptist Church of Dallas.
That defender of religious freedom may also be remembered as the church where a pastor had to resign in 2008 because he was caught soliciting sex from a minor.
Sr. Pastor Jack Graham, who is spearheading the signature collection effort for the Plano recall, accepted the resignation of Pastor Joe Barron after a 2008 sex sting.
“Barron was charged … with online solicitation of a minor,” according to an AP story from the time. “Undercover officers posing as a 13-year-old girl communicated with the 52-year-old minister for about two weeks. The online conversations were sexual in nature, police said.”
After connecting with “her” online, the Prestonwood minister drove 200 miles to meet her in Bryan. He was arrested and released on $7,000 bail.
In 2009, he was sentenced to seven years in prison after reaching a plea deal. He had to serve a quarter of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole and then had to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
While that was the most famous case of child abuse, there have been other allegations.
In the late 1980s, minister John Langworthy was dismissed after charges of child abuse. Langworthy moved to Clinton, Miss. where he served at Morrison Heights Southern Baptist for two decades
“There, he recently received a 50-year suspended sentence for molesting multiple boys as young as 6,” according to Baptist News Global. “But Langworthy avoided prison time because, in the plea bargain process, prosecutors were concerned about the statute of limitations.”
A Facebook group has formed called People Against Prestonwood’s Silence on Allegations of Sexual Abuse.
In December, referring to Langworthy, they posted:
“It still seems unbelievable that Jack Graham was a 2-term President of the Southern Baptist Convention and has been given a complete pass (so far) for his role in allowing a predator to go on a multi-decade rampage raping children across Mississippi. Truly jaw dropping when you think about it.”