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NEWS DIGEST: Two arrested on charges related to sex abuse

Editor’s Note: In support of the sixth strategic action of Vision 2025 adopted by messengers to the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting, Baptist Press will continue to report every instance of sexual abuse related to Southern Baptist churches or leaders of which we are made aware.

Louisiana Baptist maintenance worker arrested on three counts of molestation

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) – Perry Leon Moses, 59, was arrested Jan. 5 on charges of molestation of a juvenile. Moses had been employed since 2017 as a maintenance worker at the Louisiana Baptist Convention. His employment was terminated when the LBC learned of the allegations.

Perry Leon Moses

Steve Horn, executive director-treasurer of the LBC, released a statement regarding Moses’ arrest to Baptist Press, which said:

“Early Monday morning, January 3, 2022, we learned of inappropriate sexual conduct by one of our employees, Maintenance Supervisor Perry Moses. Within two hours, we arrived at work, confronted him with the allegation, which then led to the immediate termination of his employment.

“We later learned that authorities were investigating as to whether the employee had sexual interaction with a minor. On Thursday, January 6, we learned of his arrest. He was charged with three counts of molesting a juvenile.

“We are heartbroken for the victim and the victim’s family. We have offered the victim counseling with a licensed counselor of the victim’s choice. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement in every way possible, including their request of us not to discuss any further details until their investigation is complete.

“We are praying for God to bring healing to all who have been affected.”

Bond was set at $300,000 for Moses – $100,000 for each of three counts of molestation of a minor aged 13 to 17. Anyone with further information related to the allegations is encouraged to contact the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit at 318-473-6727.

Texas youth pastor arrested, fired for sexual contact with a minor

WYLIE, Texas (BP) – Timothy Velente Wells, 31, was arrested Friday (Jan. 7) and charged with indecency with a child by sexual contact. Wells had served at First Baptist Wylie since 2019.

Timothy Velente Wells

In a statement, the church said:

“Due to his violation of the Student Ministry Safety Policies and Procedures, Tim Wells, junior high minister, was terminated. Subsequently, Mr. Wells was charged with a crime and has been arrested.

“Our church leadership first became aware of the allegations against Mr. Wells in December. Church leadership immediately placed Mr. Wells on a leave of absence. Following an investigation by church leadership, Mr. Wells’ employment at First Baptist Church Wylie was terminated.

“Further, church leadership followed church policies and protocols, immediately reporting the allegations to the appropriate authorities, including the Wylie Police Department. Then, church leadership worked with local agencies, including the Wylie Police Department, Murphy Police Department, and the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, to assist in their investigation.”

A statement from the Collin County Sheriff’s office said “the assault was alleged to have occurred at an off-site location, not at the church,” and that “during the course of their investigation, Collin County Sheriff’s Office Investigators identified a 15-year-old female victim who disclosed that she had been inappropriately touched by First Baptist Church of Wylie Junior High Minister Timothy Wells.” Wells is being held on a $26,000 bond.

Anyone with further information regarding the allegations is encouraged to contact the Collin County Sheriff’s Office at 972-547-5350.

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