Was seminary obligated to report graduate's molestation history?
One week after settling a lawsuit brought by the victim of one of its former students, Dallas Theological Seminary officials will go to court Monday to face another of that student's victims.
As Weblog noted in 2001, Jon Gerrit Warnshuis was apparently expelled from the seminary in 1988 when, the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports, "a prominent Dallas man confronted seminary officials about the molestation of his son, who was then 12 or 13."
After four years of counseling, the seminary let Warnshuis back in. "We believe that people should be given a second chance if they turn their lives around," former seminary president Donald Campbell explained to the Star-Telegram in 2001. He graduated in 1992 and eventually became a pastor at Oak Hills Evangelical Free Church.
In December 2001, Warnshuis pled guilty to molesting three minor boys while at Oak Hills, including Aaron Babb, and is now serving a 40-year sentence.
"Police believe that Warnshuis victimized dozens of children from Grapevine, Dallas, Laredo, Argyle, California, and elsewhere," the Star-Telegram's Darren Barbee wrote yesterday.
Seminary officials never told the churches where Warnshuis worked what they knew about him. They said they weren't clear what their obligations were, both to the churches and to Warnshuis. Babb and at least one other victim say the seminary was obligated to say something. The other victim settled his case out of court under undisclosed terms. But Babb apparently rejected a monetary settlement and wants the case to go to court.
Seminary spokesman A. Larry Ross told the Star-Telegram that the seminary had acted appropriately given the information it had at the time.
The judge's decision ...1