MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A Memphis church says it is investigating allegations of sexual abuse, dating back two decades, against a former pastor.
Woodland Presbyterian Church in East Memphis is hiring an independent company to investigate the claims of four men who say they were abused in the mid-90s.
The former pastor at the center of the sex abuse allegations led the church for 18 years. We are told he is no longer working in the Mid-South.
“This is obviously a devastating thing for our community. We are broken hearted over this,” said Rev. Matt Miller with Woodland Presbyterian Church.
Miller says four men came to him revealing what happened in the mid-90s. Miller says he encouraged them to file reports with police and the Tennessee Department of Children Services. Other Mid-South churches where the former pastor previously worked were also notified.
“We’ve communicated with all the churches this former pastor has had a connection with to share with them the allegations, to let them know we are making this announcement,” said Miller.
Miller says while police investigate, the church hired an outside company to investigate, hoping to help church leaders understand what happened so something like it won’t happen again.
“We don’t know what happened but were hurting because of this, and we want to support and encourage these survivors, because they are going through something really difficult,” said Miller.
Miller is encouraging anyone with any information to come forward.
“If there is anyone in the community that knows anything about this, we would love to get information and they can email me Matt@WoodlandPres.Org, because we are wanting to understand if anyone else was involved or impacted in any way,” said Miller.
No one currently on the church staff worked there when the alleged abuse took place. The former pastor has not been criminally charged with a crime.