KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In response to an explosive investigation, top Southern Baptists have released a previously secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse. It is 205 pages long and was made public late Thursday.
More than 700 entries fill its pages. Eleven people with ties to East Tennessee can be found in the list, which compiles known incidents from the 1990s to 2019.
The people included in the list are below, with descriptions of the incidents surrounding them and the years they were reported.
- Randall T. Hollifield: Knoxville, New Beverly Baptist Church (2009): He was a youth volunteer who was sentenced on June 15, 2011, for the rape of a child.
- Mark Curtis Adams: Mount Carmel, Oak Grove Baptist Church (2018): Adams was a 55-year-old deacon and youth teacher when he was arrested on a count of child pornography and a count of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity. He was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison after pleading guilty on May 7, 2018, that he used Kik, a social media app, to entice a minor into illegal sexual activity.
- Courtney Michelle Bingham: Loudon, Bethany Baptist Church (2018): Bingham was charged with aggravated statutory rape and soliciting sexual exploitation of a minor on December 11, 2018. She was a church youth leader who was charged with having sexual relations with a teenage boy.
- John Randy Leming: Sevierville, Antioch Baptist Church (1998): He was a pastor who pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old member of his congregation when he pastored at Shiloh Baptist Church, also in Sevier County. The offenses happened in May and June 1994, when he was 31 years old, he said. He served at the Antioch Baptist Church since March 2015. The church was disfellowshipped in February 2021 for employing a pastor who confessed to statutory rape.
- Jason Kennedy: Karns, Grace Baptist Church (2016): Jason was arrested for patronizing prostitution and for human trafficking. He later registered as a sex offender for soliciting a minor for sex.
- Jimmy Orick: LaFollette, Mountain View Independent Baptist Church (2018): Orick pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated statutory rape and three counts of attempted statutory rape by an authority figure. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure.
- Gregory Stanley Dempsey: Soddy-Daisy, Oak Street Baptist Church (2003 and 2006): The former minister of music, Gregory confessed and was charged with three counts of statutory rape and three counts of sexual battery for sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy in 2003. In 2006, the list said he was pastor of Middle Valley Methodist Church when another report of statutory rape surfaced.
- Donald McCary: Hixon, Central Baptist Church (1992): The 48-year-old minister of music and youth was sentenced to 72 years in prison for abusing 4 boys between 12 years old and 15 years old in 1989. In 1996, the Supreme Couty overturned the conviction over evidence it said should not have been included. He was then given two other trials involving two different victims, and he was convicted in both cases, according to reports.
- Richard Yates Quinn: Graduate of Southern Seminary (2007): The 33-year-old attended Southern Seminary and lived on campus. He had been convicted of receiving a photo of a minor engaged in a sexually explicit act.
- David Lee St. John: Bristol, The Bible Truth Baptist Church (2016): The past of the church pleaded guilty to six counts of aggravated sexual battery and three counts of rape of a child for activities with two girls under 13 years old. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison without a chance of parole, and the church dissolved after the pastor was arrested.
- Larry William Whitley: Knoxville, volunteer at a Baptist church (2009): Whitley was convicted of child molestation and aggravated sodomy, according to the database. It says that in 2002, he fled Georgia and violated his probation, failing to register as a sex offender. He ended up in Knoxville, where the database says he volunteered at a Baptist church. In 2009, it says he was caught. It also says he used an alias, "Robert Moon."
The existence of the database was revealed Sunday when a firm included it in a report detailing how Southern Baptist Convention leadership mishandled reports of sex abuse and stonewalled survivors.
Attorney T. Scott Jones said it is a defensive legal move for SBC to make the list public. However, he believes it will still come with some challenges and consequences.
"The question is going to be asked, 'Why didn't you do it sooner, because maybe that might have prevented other people from being victimized,'" Jones said.
Attorney Dennis Francis also read through the list of offenders. He predicts the list will grow and there will be even more changes coming to the SBC.
"I think it's pretty apparent that you will see other people coming forward and saying yes, 'So-and-so pastor did something to me 30 years ago,'" Francis said.
Out of 11 people who were listed in East Tennessee, at least eight were pastors or youth ministers.
"Kids don't recover from being sexually abused or sexually assaulted. You're going to jail for 10 years. But the kid, your victim, is doing a life sentence because it doesn't go away," Francis said.
Jones hopes this list instills change.
"It's a good thing that it's out there, and hopefully protections can be put in place. So that these types of activities and things don't happen," Jones said.
Executive Committee leaders Rolland Slade and Willie McLaurin, in a joint statement, called publishing the list “an initial, but important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention."