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NEWS DIGEST: Two Mississippi ministers arrested; Baylor settles sex-abuse lawsuit

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, entities, institutions or leaders of which we are made aware. This story has been updated.

Mississippi music minister, youth minister both facing abuse-related charges

By BP Staff

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (BP) – A worship leader in South Mississippi faces federal charges for distributing and producing child pornography.

Tyler Selby, 33, lives in Saucier, Miss., and has served as a music minister at Robinwood Baptist Church there as well as Emmanuel Baptist Church in Ocean Springs, Central Baptist Church in McComb, and Lemoyne Boulevard Baptist Church in Biloxi.

According to local media reports, Selby was sharing child pornography over the internet with someone in the UK who was posing as a minor.

Selby shared a video of himself engaging in an abusive act with a young boy, investigators said.

Selby was taken into custody, and the case remains under investigation.

A youth minister in South Mississippi has been arrested for allegedly fondling a girl in his youth group in 2021.

Conner Coleman, 22, is accused of molesting a then-15-year-old girl in his youth group at Sand Hill Baptist Church in Ellisville, Miss. Since then, he had moved to Summerland Baptist Church in Taylorsville, Miss.

The incident occurred at the church building just before a group left on a mission trip, the accuser has reported, according to news reports.

“This is another sad reminder that though we hope and pray these horrible acts stop, the reality is they continue to happen in our churches,” said Brad Eubank, Sexual Abuse Response Team chairman for Mississippi Baptists and member of the Southern Baptists Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force. “It’s another stark and sad reminder that we have a long way to go in this fight. Our churches must remain vigilant in preventing abuse and responding in the right way when it does.

“I am deeply encouraged by the response, though, of Mississippi churches that want to get this right and pursue preventing abuse and responding and caring for those who have been abused.”

Baylor settles lawsuit with sexual abuse survivors

By Ken Camp/Baptist Standard

WACO, Texas (BP) –Baylor University settled a federal lawsuit with 15 women who asserted they were sexually assaulted on or near the campus.

The lawsuit, initially filed in June 2016 by three plaintiffs and later joined by 12 others, accused Baylor of a “deliberately indifferent response” to accusations of sexual assault and subsequent harassment. The suit alleged the university violated Title IX and the Clery Act, permitting “a campus condition rife with sexual assault.”

Terms of the lawsuit’s settlement were not disclosed.

“We are deeply sorry for anyone connected with the Baylor community who has been harmed by sexual violence,” a public statement from Baylor University said.

“While we can never erase the reprehensible acts of the past, we pray that this agreement will allow these 15 survivors to move forward in a supportive manner.”

The suit was one of several filed in 2015 and 2016 alleging Baylor failed to protect students who were sexually assaulted. The suits followed a scandal that rocked the athletic department and eventually led to the departure of then-President Ken Starr.

In fall 2015, Baylor University regents hired Pepper Hamilton, a Philadelphia law firm, to investigate the university’s response to reports of sexual violence.

After receiving an oral report from Pepper Hamilton in May 2016, regents subsequently removed Starr as president, fired Head Football Coach Art Briles and sanctioned Athletic Director Ian McCaw, who later resigned.

Pepper Hamilton offered 105 recommendations to the university regarding Title IX compliance and a proper response to sexual abuse allegations. In May 2017, regents announced the “foundational implementation” of all the recommendations.

If you are/have been a victim of sexual abuse or suspect sexual abuse by a pastor, staff member or member of a Southern Baptist church or entity, please reach out for help at 202-864-5578 or [email protected]. All calls are confidential.

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