HENRYETTA -- A former Dewar First
Baptist Church music director worked briefly at another
Baptist church before his arrest on sexual battery complaints
Aaron M. McDonald, 23, was hired in June at the Calvary
Baptist Church in Sulphur, said the Rev. Brent Parsons. Asked
if the hiring came after June 11, Parsons said, "Yes."
McDonald is accused of touching the genitals of a
15-year-old boy who, with another friend, was staying the
night at McDonald's mobile home in Henryetta on June 11,
according to an affidavit for McDonald's arrest.
The Rev. Jack Vance, pastor of the Dewar church, said
earlier that McDonald left his post as music director "within
a couple of hours" after Vance learned of the allegations.
Just when church officials had learned of the allegations
was not clear.
Vance said McDonald had been music director for only two
Sundays prior to June 11.
Vance could not be reached Friday. He also had said earlier
that the congregation is "well- aware" of what is going on.
But an anonymous caller to the Tulsa World on Friday
identified himself as a member of the church and said no one
in the church had told him or others of the McDonald
"Nobody knew. Not a word was spoken about it," the caller
Law enforcement officials were not informed of the
allegations until the 15-year-old's parents notified Henryetta
police June 24.
Detective Randy Knight's affidavit for an arrest warrant
said the victim and another youth had stayed overnight with
The victim claimed that during the evening, McDonald used
his foot to rub the boy's genitals while they were on a couch.
During the night, McDonald grabbed the boy's genitals twice in
McDonald's bed, the affidavit alleged.
Knight traced McDonald to Warner, where he was arrested
July 25 after allegedly admitting that he had touched the boy
with his hand and foot.
In Warner, the Rev. Larry Combs of the First Baptist Church
said he knew McDonald from a year ago when McDonald led the
music at a revival. But McDonald was "never employed here,"
McDonald had been staying with the Warner church's youth
leader and his wife while looking for jobs at other churches,
The Warner youth leader was a high school friend of
McDonald's who later told Combs that he had "no clue" that
McDonald might molest children, Combs said.
He said he asked McDonald after his arrest, "Did you do any
of that in Warner?"
"No, I can promise you I didn't," Combs quoted McDonald as
Combs, a former police officer, said he conducts background
checks on all potential employ ees as a matter of church
Since Baptist churches are autonomous, each has its own
method of hiring workers, he said.
"Ethically, it would be reported" to police if he learned
of such incidents within his church, Combs said.
McDonald most recently worked in Sulphur, where Police
Capt. Paul Luna said the Police Department had no reports on
McDonald earned a degree in vocal music a year ago from
Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, school records show.
He listed Shawnee as his hometown when he posted $20,000
bail last week in Okmulgee.
He is scheduled to appear Wednesday in Henryetta to learn
what charges may be filed against him.
Okmulgee County prosecutor Beryl R. Davis is reviewing
police reports on the allegations.
The Oklahoma Baptist General Convention said the convention
offers guidelines to churches on dealing with such matters as
sexual-abuse claims, said Marcus Wehmuller, assistant public
relations director for the convention.
Those guidelines are not given to the public, he said, but
the state group recommends that churches conduct background
checks on volunteers and employees.
However, Wehmuller said the Southern Baptist Convention
adopted a resolution at its June convention in St. Louis which
acknowledged that "Roman Catholics are seeking to address the
scandal of sexual abuse by members of their clergy."
Resolution 3 states: "We encourage those religious bodies
dealing with the tragedy of clergy abuse in their efforts to
rid their ranks of predatory ministers . . ." and to ". . .
call on civil authorities to punish to the fullest extent of
the law sexual abuse among clergy and counselors."
The resolution also calls "on our churches to discipline
those guilty of any sexual abuse . . ." and to "cooperate with
civil authorities in the prosecution of those cases."
The resolution ends, "We pray for those who have been
harmed as a result of sexual abuse and urge our churches to
offer support, compassion and biblical counseling to them and
Ralph Marler, World staff writer, can be reached at
581-8480 or via e-mail at mailto:%firstname.lastname@example.org.