Southern Baptist Pastor John Finley has resigned after 31 years at the helm of Bartlett Hills Baptist Church in Bartlett, Tennessee, following accusations that he sexually molested two teenage girls over 30 years ago while serving at a church in Texas.
The 62-year-old Finley resigned in April after church staff and leaders confronted him about detailed allegations they received from women who said they were repeatedly sexually abused by Finley when he was their youth group leader at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth in the 1980s.
“I made some poor choices and was involved with two females in inappropriate behavior,” Finley said in his resignation speech before the congregation on April 8, The Star-Telegram reported this week. “There was no sex. Both ladies were over 18. In the best interest of our church, I choose to resign immediately.”
His accusers, whose names have not been made public, claim that what Finley told his congregation in his resignation speech was a lie. They told the Texas newspaper that they were between the ages of 15 and 17 when they were abused by Finley, who was in his mid-20s at the time.
In addition to unwanted kissing, Finley is accused of inappropriately touching the girls on their breasts and buttocks. The pastor is also accused of touching one of the girl’s backsides with an erect penis and even making one of the girls touch his erect penis with her hand.
Since Finley has not been at Travis Avenue Baptist Church since 1986, the women claim that attempts have been made over the last 15 years to alert Bartlett Hills Baptist Church in Tennessee about Finley’s abuse.
But it wasn’t until after the accusers sent a letter to six church staff members and leaders on April 3 that Finley felt compelled to resign.
“Six staff and church leaders received a letter on April 3, 2018, containing the allegations and a request that John Finley be removed as pastor. That same night we met with John Finley, showed him the letter, and questioned him about the allegations,” Ted Rasbach, chairman of the Bartlett Hills Baptist Church Personnel Committee, told The Christian Post in an email Monday. “We ended that meeting and met a second time on April 5, at which time Finley announced to us he would be voluntarily resigning, which he did on April 8 during our worship service.”
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Source: Christian Post