Pastor Charged With Sexual Assault Allowed Into Public Schools

A youth pastor in Houston has been charged with sexual assault of a minor and two churches he was affiliated with are being sued by another alleged victim. The twist: He met the second accuser at a public school, where he was allowed in to “mentor” students during their lunch hours.

Foster was part of a “marketing scheme” by Second Baptist that allowed youth pastors to encourage students in public schools to attend church activities and events, enticing them with fast food, the suit states. The goal was to recruit their parents to join. He later went to work for Community of Faith, the suit states.

The girl met Foster during her lunch hour at school, where he was able to get her involved in activities with Second Baptist. The two started a relationship as one of religious guidance, the suit states.

“This is no different than a pedophile with candy in his pocket,” said Cris Feldman, attorney in the case for the parents of the girl, now 17. “It’s just someone who worked for Second Baptist and was told to go into school lunch rooms and recruit.”

But the sex part is the criminal part and the most salacious. Even without that, this practice of allowing ministers in to school cafeterias to talk with students has to stop. There’s absolutely no way to ensure that they aren’t proselytizing and inviting kids to their churches. Indeed, that’s the real reason why they’re there in the first place. They wouldn’t allow any random person off the street to talk to students during lunch and they shouldn’t let a minister in there either.

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  • tbp1

    Honestly, I think any “youth pastor” should be considered guilty until proven innocent and never allowed around kids unsupervised. It’s the dream job for sexual predators.

  • Sastra

    I think sexual predators have lots of “dream jobs” — parenthood can be one of them. That’s far too broad a brush. Ed’s point on keeping youth ministers per se out of public schools is spot on.

  • matty1

    Two questions, was he allowed into the school after the first accusation had been made and if so why did no one screen for this sort of thing?

  • sugarfrosted

    @1 As should school teachers, parents, babysitters and daycare workers. Seriously WTFIWWY.

  • doublereed

    I’ve never heard of pastors coming into the school to mentor kids. That’s so bizarre.

  • illdoittomorrow

    1) AFAIK to do any volunteer work around kids in my neck of the woods you have to pass a police background check. What the fuck happened here?

    1) I’m imagining the sheer volume of shit that would hit the fan if a Muslim cleric was to ask to be a mentor.

    2) Isn’t this a clear, screaming violation of the establishment clause?

  • illdoittomorrow

    And it’s clear from my #6 that I need to go back to school, to learn how to count…

  • Artor

    “But the sex part is the criminal part…”

    Uh, it’s one of the criminal parts. Isn’t the blatantly obvious violation of the 1st Amendment also a criminal act?

  • NitricAcid

    illdoittomorrow- watch out for the pastors while you’re there.

  • sugarfrosted

    @5 This guy was not volunteering to be a mentor at the school, he was hired to watch kids at lunch just to make sure they didn’t get into trtrouble he just abused his position.

  • joyfulatheist

    A high school in my area has a “chaplaincy” program whereby local ministers are trained as chaplains and available to students on campus to talk about problems. In addition to that, this school has a christian club which offers pizza for sale every week to students who attend. Also, some of the science teachers slip AiG bullshit creationist vids into their lessons on evolution. In short, this school (indeed, this whole town) is looooong overdue for a church/state violation lawsuit. I welcome the reckoning.

    Evangelical teachers/staff can’t seem to help themselves and share their faith at even the slightest hint of student invitation. When I’m finally able to be more public about my atheism (it’s a work in progress, but maybe by January?), I plan on doing what I can to put an end to it, at least to give the students a chance to make their own decisions.

  • Sastra

    @joyfulatheist #11:

    Good luck. And of course you won’t forget that there are several organizations which can back you in this.

  • lorn

    I assume they use a windowless van with a mattress inside to get to the schools and help with the one-on-one ‘prayer sessions’.

  • tbp1

    OK, I got a little hyperbolic, and shouldn’t paint with so broad a brush.

    For some reason, I find the whole idea of a “youth pastor” to be really, really creepy, in a way I don’t find the other professions cited that involve adults in contact with kids. Since I don’t have any actual evidence that they engage in sexual misconduct more often than those in the other kid-related professions, I withdraw my comment.