Abuse verdict goes against Baptist state convention

The attorney for a man awarded $12.5 million by a Florida jury for sexual abuse suffered at the hands of a Baptist minister says the verdict could transform how Southern Baptists handle accusations of clergy misconduct.

“I think it’s a good thing for the Florida Baptist Convention to clean up their act,” said Ronald Weil, an attorney with a Miami-based law firm. The judgment by a Lake County, Florida, jury was made against the statewide affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention. “Hope­fully, this is a wake-up call for them to do that.”

The jury handed down a unanimous verdict on January 18, awarding damages to a victim now in his twenties who claimed he was molested as a child by Douglas Myers, a church planter trained and supposedly vetted by the Baptist state convention. In 2012 a previous jury found the convention responsible for the minister’s actions.

 

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