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.
COLFAX, La. (BP) — Four additional charges of felony sex crimes have been levied against Daryl Ray Stagg, who until his arrest was a Southern Baptist associational mission strategist (AMS) serving dozens of churches in north central Louisiana.
After Stagg’s initial June 8 arrest in Grant Parish on 12 counts of sex crimes against juveniles including first-degree rape, the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office charged Stagg with four counts of sex crimes in Union Parish involving one survivor, also a juvenile, law enforcement officials said at a June 12 press conference in Colfax.
Police have also extended their investigation to include Kenosha, Wis., and are concerned that Stagg’s alleged crimes might have involved other survivors. Officials would not say why they extended their investigation to Kenosha, saying the potential victims would be young children.
“From my experience in law enforcement,” Grant Parish Sheriff Steven McCain said, “somebody doesn’t develop this behavior at the age of 60 years old (Stagg’s age).
“We are concerned that there are other children that have been hurt, and so our message this morning is you’re safe,” McCain said. “Mr. Stagg is in jail. … What we’re hoping we can get from the media stuff today is not just here in Louisiana, but things that may have occurred in other states across the nation.”
If Stagg posts the $500,000 bond he faces in Grant Parish, he will be transferred to the custody of Union Parish where he faces an additional $950,000 bond, Union Parish Sheriff Rusty Gates said at the press conference including sheriffs from Grant, Union and Rapides parishes who’ve collaborated in the investigation.
“Working in conjunction with these other agencies, we were able to identify one individual in Union Parish, in the Bernice, La., area,” Gates said. After an investigation, Gates charged Stagg with one count each of first-degree rape, oral sexual battery, aggravated crimes against nature, and indecent behavior with juveniles.
“At this time during the investigation,” Gates said at the press conference, “that is the only victim we have been able to identify in Union Parish. However, as the other sheriffs have said, there could be additional victims. This is a very heinous crime and it’s something we want to work hard to get this individual off the street and not let him be able to return to society.”
In Grant Parish, Stagg is charged with three counts each of first-degree rape, oral sexual battery, aggravated crimes against nature and indecent behavior with juveniles, but the number of victims has not been disclosed.
McCain said the investigation began about three weeks ago with a complaint filed in Rapides Parish.
“A few weeks ago, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office got in touch with us about a complaint that they received in Rapides Parish in reference to some young children that had been raped,” McCain said. “The investigation led to Grant Parish and with the partnership that we’ve worked with Rapides Parish, we ended up also in Union Parish Sheriff’s Office and also the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin. And through the efforts in those investigations, it led to the arrest of Daryl Stagg.”
Stagg, of Pollock, has served since 2018 as AMS for the Big Creek Baptist Association in Dry Prong and the CenLa Association in Alexandria.
The Louisiana Baptist Convention, also based in Alexandria and a parent organization of 28 associations across Louisiana, told local media it had no knowledge of such allegations against Stagg before his arrest.
“We learned Thursday morning (June 8) of the allegations made against Daryl Stagg, Associational Mission Strategist for the Big Creek, and CenLA Associations,” said in a statement to media. “The Louisiana Baptist Convention nor its Executive Board have any knowledge of the particular facts of these allegations and is not involved in the incidents alleged.
“Therefore, we have no comment on this matter as it is being investigated by the appropriate persons and agencies involved. However, more importantly, our prayers are with all those involved for an appropriate and healing resolution to this matter. Daryl Stagg is not an employee of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, nor does the Convention provide oversight or supervision of him.”
The Big Creek Association lists 31 member churches and ministries on the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Church Profile, with the CenLa Association reporting 61 churches and ministries.
Those with information regarding the alleged crimes, or with knowledge of potential victims, are asked to contact the Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-627-2010, or the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318—368-3124.
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.