Temple Baptist Church, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church (IFB) located in Kokomo, Indiana is under scrutiny as authorities investigate claims of physical and sexual abuse by people associated with the church and its school — Temple Christian School. Mike Holloway is the church’s current pastor. As of the writing of this post, no charges have been filed or arrests made. The Kokomo Perspective began a series of articles this week on Temple Baptist and the allegations against them. Today’s article, which is excerpted below, features Dawn Price. a women who alleges she was sexually abused years ago while attending Temple Baptist Church:
Through a heartfelt reading of a letter she wrote to her parents at the behest of a counselor, [Dawn] Price detailed her painful childhood while choking back tears. In just under 15 minutes, she described the alleged sexual abuse she claims to have endured at the hands of her father, Donald Croddy, who sources say served in various capacities around children at Temple Baptist Church.
Adopted at the age of 5, and now 45, Price claims her father began grooming her shortly after she and her brother were brought into the Croddy home in Kokomo.
“You made naptime and playing house with daddy normal,” said Price in her video. “You took away my innocence. No child should know about sex or orgasms. You have no idea how you screwed up my sexual development.”
Price alleges the abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to Croddy making her watch him masturbate, until it eventually progressed.
“By the time I was 9 or 10, in the fourth grade, you wanted more,” said Price in her video. “This is when my abuse became full sexual intercourse. Later that night I told mom I was bleeding down there, and I was told it was just my period and was sent to school with a paper bag full of maxi pads. It wasn’t my period, and I stopped bleeding after few days. And it was never mentioned again.”
While she said the sexual abuse at the hands of her father stopped when she was about 12, Price’s video acted as a catalyst, with multiple victims coming forward to claim they were sexually abused by Croddy. More than that, multiple individuals claim Mike Holloway, the pastor of Temple Baptist Church where the Croddys attended church, knew about Price’s abuse and still allowed him to work within the church and around children.
Also, Price went so far as to provide screenshots of texts with her mother, Elfriede, which may be a confession that she knew about her husband’s alleged sexual abuse of Price. In one text, in response to Price saying the church may be liable for any potential victims of her father, Elfriede wrote, “… we have ask forgiveness we don’t bother you why now.” Elfriede also appears to go on to deny Price’s allegations soon after.
As of last week, three women went on the record with the Kokomo Perspective claiming Croddy had sexually abused them in his home. One chose to remain anonymous. Another elected to go by only her first name. Price elected to allow her story to be told with her name attached. All of the alleged victims that went on the record bare certain similarities. They are all beyond the statute of limitations in Indiana for criminal charges to be pressed against Croddy; however, they all wanted their stories told. And, commonly, they’d all kept their childhood experiences largely to themselves, until recently, for reasons ranging from a fear of Croddy to the belief that since he was so active at the church no one would believe them.
“I want it stopped, and I want him held accountable,” said Price. “I don’t want there to be any more victims. That’s my main goal, to make sure there aren’t any more victims. I feel like if I don’t speak out at this point, if there are more victims, then that’s my fault too.”
One source of angst for Price is that Holloway, the pastor at Temple Baptist Church, knew about Croddy abusing her.
According to her, on Monday, Aug. 26, 1991, she was traveling around town with her father and her then-fiancé Andrew Thornton. At the time, she was 19. Thornton was 21, and the pair were set to be married in just five days. In the final phase of preparing to move to Thornton’s hometown in Texas after the wedding, the group was in the process of helping Price take care of final arrangements prior to the move, like closing her bank account.
Price claims that as she exited a local credit union, she came upon her father repeatedly striking Thornton. As she said she later found out—and Thornton corroborated the claim in a separate interview—Thornton had confronted Croddy about his alleged abuse of Price.
“Dad said, ‘I don’t approve of this marriage. We’re going to the church, and I’m telling the pastor right now.’ I was like,’Why?’” said Price. “And Andy said, ‘Because I told him I know what he did to you.’”
Not long after, the group located Holloway in Temple Baptist Church for an impromptu meeting, according to Price and Thornton. Price said she told Holloway her father was fighting with her fiancé because she told Thornton about her childhood abuse.
“Holloway looked at me. Then he looked at Andy. And he looked at my dad, and he said, ‘Is it true? Did you do what she’s claiming?’ said Price. “And [Croddy] said, ‘Yes, I did, but that’s in the past.’”
Even though Thornton and Price eventually divorced, with Thornton remaining in Texas and Price eventually settling in Ohio, he corroborated her account of that day’s events in 1991. In his recollection, he even said he believed Holloway already knew about Croddy’s past abuse of his daughter.
“He was aware of it that day for sure, but he was aware of it before that because he basically said, ‘I’ve dealt with Donald on this. It’s been forgiven,’” said Thornton. “He basically said bad things about Dawn as well, like she was a bad kid in high school or whatever, so I’m not going to take her word for any of it. He basically just disregarded what she was saying and went with the person that’s donating money to the church is the way I felt.”
According to both Price and Thornton, Holloway asked Croddy if he would be able to not “cause a scene” at his daughter’s wedding. However, he allegedly told the pastor he wasn’t sure if he wouldn’t. So, the pair claim Holloway canceled the wedding just days ahead of time. As a result, they eloped and moved to Texas together.
Since Price’s video has come out, others have come forward to make various claims about interactions with Holloway that made them believe the pastor was aware of Croddy’s alleged tendencies.
Mary Bell was raising multiple teenagers while attending Temple Baptist Church. According to her, Holloway warned the mother of three that Croddy was a pedophile in either 1997 or 1998 when her children were participating in a church fund raiser.
According to Bell, the children were broken down into groups for the fund raiser, and some were assigned to work at the Croddy household. However, Bell claims she was pulled aside by Holloway at the church and told not to allow her teenage daughters around Croddy.
“They would work with people around the church and their homes, and we chose the Croddys,” said Bell. “All three of my children were teens at the time working for the Croddys outside. When I went back to the church Mike Holloway pulled me away and said that I should not have my children over there at that house because he is being accused of being a pedophile. So, I need to get my children away from him. So I did.”
Others maintain that after the alleged events just prior to Price and Thornton’s wedding in 1991, Croddy was allowed to be around children in various capacities within the church.
Tabitha Dodd, a former fifth-and sixth-grade teacher at Temple Baptist Academy, said she had seen Croddy help around the church day care, playground, and other activities where children were present as recent as 10 years ago.
“He would be at the church in various capacities whenever the preacher needed help. He would do stuff, I can remember, with the fall festival,” said Dodd. “He would do the tractor rides and different things whenever the men would help out in the church … He would do stuff with the day care kids in the back. The day care has a playground in the back of the church.”
The Kokomo Perspective attempted to speak with Holloway about the allegation that he knew about Croddy’s alleged sexual abuse of his daughter and still allowed him to work around children. In response, Temple Baptist Church issued the following statement:
“Concerning the allegations that have recently surfaced, we are currently looking into the matter. We have cooperated with and will continue to cooperate with the authorities. We have no further comment at this time.”
Multiple attempts to contact Croddy were unsuccessful.
Price provided a text from her mother, which showed that since her video was released her parents had been kicked out of Temple Baptist Church.
You can read the entire article by Devin Zimmerman here.