Baptist group found liable for $12.5 million in pastor's molestation

Jan. 21, 2014 at 12:37 PM
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TAVARES, Fla., Jan. 21 (UPI) -- The Florida Baptist Convention has been ordered to pay $12.5 million to a man who was sexually abused by a Baptist minister as a child, the man's attorney says.

The award by a Lake County jury concluded a six-day trial to decide how much the organization should pay after a separate jury found it liable for the abuse, the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday.

Ron Wolf, the attorney for the victim, who is now 21, said the award was "one of the biggest in Florida -- maybe the most for a single victim."

In May 2012, the first jury found the convention hadn't adequately investigated the preacher, Douglas W. Myers, who had been previously accused of inappropriate conduct with children.

Myers pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious molestation and served seven years in prison.

Testimony from Myers' trial showed he met the boy at a church in Lake County and abused him for the next six months. Myers took the boy on trips to Disney World, gave him money and drove him to school.

Myers was accused of improprieties with children while pastor of churches in Dunkirk, Md., and Russellville, Ala., before moving to Florida.

Testimony in the trial to determine the convention's liability found the organization conducted background and credit checks on Myers but didn't check his references or contact the churches where he had worked.

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