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How Church Leaders Commit Secondary Abuse

When we skip past justice in a rush to redemption for the abuser, we are guilty of secondary abuse of survivors. There are countless stories like the story of abuser David Kent Pierce, former First Baptist Benton (AR) music minister and now convicted pedophile. Pierce faced 54 (FIFTY FOUR) counts of abusing boys over two decades, and eventually entered a guilty plea. The abuse was methodical and insidious.


Not one, but two pastors spoke out about David Pierce's crimes.


You might imagine that the pastors had kind words to say toward the victims of sexual abuse.


You would be wrong.


You might imagine that the pastors had a few words about how a millstone would be better for Pierce than the justice that he will face.


You would be wrong.


You might imagine that the pastors set up a fund for trauma-informed counseling.


You would be wrong.

How did the First Baptist Benton's former senior pastor, Greg Kirksey, respond?

He wrote a letter to the judge asking for leniency for the abuser.


He expressed concern - not for the victims - but for the abuser.

“I am afraid if David is sent to prison he will never come out alive.”

He has a heart condition and diabetes, Kirksey wrote, and “you and I know that once other inmates know what his charges are, he will be a target in prison.”


Greg Kirksey is not a "nobody" in Arkansas Baptist circles. He has served two terms as the President of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. He is now the teaching pastor at the Church At Rock Creek, a 4,500 attendee megachurch which has been featured as one of the "100 Fastest Growing Churches in America."


The pastor of First Baptist Benton at the time of Pierce's arrest, Rick Grant, (pictured right) released a public statement saying that he is praying "for David Pierce and his family." One of Pierce's victims described a meeting in which Rick Grant said Pierce could keep his job if he would "seek to make amends" by apologizing to his victims.


Rick Grant continues to serve as pastor at First Baptist Benton.



Secondary abuse occurs when there is more concern for the ABUSER than the ABUSED.


It has to stop.



************Abuse Description Trigger Warning*************

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, "Authorities described two decades of abuse of an unknown number of teenage boys, whom Pierce “groomed” when they were young.


"As they grew older, he would introduce them to various sexual situations, such as looking at pornography and talking about sex.


At puberty, Pierce would start asking the boys to expose their genitals so he could take measurements, which he called “charting,” investigators reported."


Additional victims accounts can be found here: https://arktimes.com/news/cover-stories/2009/10/01/the-fall-of-man

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