According to the Houston Chronicle, the parents of a teenage girl have filed suit against two well-known Houston churches, Second Baptist Church and Community of Faith Church. Both parents are claiming that the religious organizations were negligent by employing and failing to properly supervise a youth pastor, Chad Foster, who was previously convicted of sexually soliciting their underage daughter while working there. In 2013, Foster pleaded guilty and was also convicted of sexual assault of a completely different minor, receiving five years in prison.
The civil lawsuit filed by Foster’s second known victim indicates that Foster was a key part of Second Baptist Church’s marketing plan, which directed youth pastors to solicit students in public schools to attend church activities and events, enticing the students with food and activities. Apparently, the goal was to get the students’ parents to join the church and donate money.
Foster met the teenage girl during her lunch hour at school and was able to get her involved in the activities at Second Baptist under the guise of “religious guidance.” By January of 2011, the relationship had progressed to the point where Foster would communicate with the minor through Facebook, Skype and other social media. The lawsuit alleges that during video calls, Foster would “expose himself and engage in acts of self-gratification” to the minor and repeatedly pressured the minor for a sexual relationship. Foster later went to work as a youth pastor at Community of Faith Church, continuing to employ a similar marketing plan, where he continued to abuse the female minor.
The suit alleges that the churches put Foster in a position that allowed him to manipulate and sexually exploit children. The suit also claims that despite Foster not properly being trained to work with children, Second Baptist encouraged him to foster bonds with them. According to the attorney for the victim and her family, “This is no different than a pedophile with candy in his pocket…it’s just someone who worked for Second Baptist and was told to go into school lunch rooms and recruit.”
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse by a religious leader, religious organization, or religious school, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or 800-594-4884.