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Rep. Steve Toth Seeks Tougher Penalties For Child Sex Crimes After Church Scandal

After the founder and senior pastor of Gateway Church resigned due to allegations he sexually abused a 12-year-old girl in the 80’s, Texas Rep. Steve Toth is calling for action and says he is working to increase the penalties for sex crimes against children.

In an interview with WFAA, Toth said he wants to increase penalties on sex crime cases against children and to make church board members mandatory reporters in those cases.

Currently, Texas law does not consider board members mandatory reporters, so they are not bound to do something if someone within the institution has committed a sex crime against a kid.

“We want to bring total clarity to the fact that you do this stuff, you cover up, and there’s going to be criminal and civil consequences. The civil consequences can include lawsuits of hundreds of thousands of dollars and wipe you out,” Rep. Toth told WFAA

When asked about his reaction to the accusation of Robert Morris, the Gateway Church pastor said he and his board members should be sued.

“Unfortunately, he can’t go to jail,” Toth said. “But his board members should be sued. He should be sued.”

The board members of the church knew Morris had an extramarital affair with a “young lady” but they said they believed the phrase referred to a woman and not to a 12-year-old child.

Toth said that he wants to include boards in the law because he has a staff member whose daughter was violated many years ago in a school, and the ISD let them go. He said somebody in the school knew about it, and should have been held accountable.

“I just don’t think our local District Attorneys are clued into the law because any DA could have brought charges against someone from the Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts or a church for that matter,” he said.  “I want to raise the penalty so that our DAs understand that this is there, and they’ve got to start enforcing it and they’ve got to start prosecuting and indicting people that do this.”

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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