Lutherans settle in Texas sex abuse case

ELCA admitted no wrongdoing
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has reached a settlement with 14 people who filed civil charges against a former pastor in Texas who has been convicted of use of child pornography and sexual abuse of children.

Gerald P. Thomas Jr. was pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Marshall from 1997 until 2001 when he was charged with possession of child pornography and sentenced to five years in federal prison in 2002. A jury added 397 years to Thomas’s imprisonment in a state trial last year in which he was convicted of multiple counts of sex crimes against children.

The civil suit in the case was partially settled April 12 when District Judge Bonnie Leggett in Marshall approved terms reached by the plaintiffs and the national office of the ELCA; Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio; a clergy candidacy committee in Michigan; and Thomas’s former church.


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