Sexual abuse is widespread in Evangelical churches. For every case reported and prosecuted, numerous others go unreported. Recently, Theron McDaniel, a bus mechanic, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexually abusing a teen girl. He was sentenced to twenty-six years in prison. Astoundingly, the children’s pastor and a church volunteer from Open Door Church in Burleson, Texas — the church home of McDaniel and his family — asked the judge to give McDaniel probation. Why? They believed he was not at risk to abuse anyone again. Really? I mean REALLY? How can these spokesmen for God KNOW McDaniel is not at risk to re-offend? Jesus? McDaniel got saved or told God he was really, really, really sorry? Or perhaps he cried crocodile tears, asked God and the girl to forgive him, and promised that he would never, ever, cross-his-heart-hope-to-die do it again.
Let this story be yet another example of why parents should NEVER entrust the care of their children to Evangelical pastors, church leaders, teachers, or nursery attendants. The risk is too high — with Evangelical theology turning smart people into trusting, forgiving, blind sheep who always see the “good” in people. Unfortunately, as the Black Collar Crime Series reveals, parents put their children at risk if they believe that Pastor so-and-so and the loving people at First Evangelical Church of Anywhere would never harm their children. They can, they might, and sadly, they, at times, will.
Here’s the Weatherford Democrat news story about McDaniel, his crimes, and those who think the convicted sexual abuser is an a-okay dude:
A 48-year-old Weatherford man was sentenced to consecutive 13-year prison sentences for two cases of sexual assault of a child in a trial that concluded in Parker County district court Thursday.
Earlier this month, Theron Scott McDaniel pled guilty to sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl and elected to have 43rd District Court Judge Craig Towson assess his punishment.
During the trial, victim impact testimony showed that, as a result of the abuse, the victim suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, anxiety, depression and low self esteem, according to Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who prosecuted the case. According to testimony, the abuse occurred better than a dozen times over the course of about a year-and-a-half.
“The abuse in this case has had a profound impact on our victim,” Swain said. “With all that Mr. McDaniel put her through, she and I were both grateful that Judge Towson assessed stacked sentences that will keep him in prison for a long time.”
McDaniel testified that he had sex with the victim 13 times and apologized to her from the witness stand. He told Towson that while he may deserve a prison sentence for what he did, he was asking for probation so that he might continue to work and support his wife and three daughters.
Several defense witnesses from Cowtown Bus Charters in Fort Worth testified that McDaniel worked for them as a bus mechanic, was an excellent employee who would be difficult to replace, and requested that the judge give him a probated sentence. The Children’s Pastor and a church volunteer from Open Door Church in Burleson testified that they did not feel that McDaniel was a risk to sexually re-offend and that they also requested that he receive probation.
“The earliest that Mr. McDaniel could be released on parole would be in 13 years,” Swain said.
Theron McDaniel was employed by Cowtown Bus Charters. They too, worried about who would replace McDaniel, asked the judge to grant him probation. Evidently, motor repairs come before protecting children from people who deign to harm them.
I have been with Cowtown since 2009 as a mechanic. I have 30 years [sic] experience as an auto/diesel mechanic, mostly in the transportation and heavy, off-road equipment fields. I am currently the Head Mechanic at Cowtown. I have 4 daughters. I am active in Life Group Ministries and like bass fishing. My favorite vacation spots are Monument Lake, Rockwall, & Colorado.