Memphis, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - In part of a six-month investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News, over 200 people who worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist Churches were connected with sex crimes dating back to 1998.
A database of convicted offenders includes 16 men from Tennessee.
Former Memphis youth minister Luke Cooke pleaded guilty to raping one boy and fondling another over a 3 year period. Cooke fled to Asia and Africa. He was extradited to the U.S. He was sentenced to 138 months in federal prison.
Larry Berkley was the senior pastor of the Victory Baptist Church in Henning when he abused three children over a two-year period.
He was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 33 years.
There are seven SBC related sex offenders in Mississippi, including Larry Singleton. He was 71-years-old when he was convicted in 2013 on 18 counts of sexual battery of a child, Gratification of lust and child porn.
He was the pastor of Bay Springs Baptist Church in Abbeville at the time of his arrest. Three men testified that Singleton sexually abused them when they were about 10 or 11 years old.
Also in Mississippi, in 2011 Edward Prince was the pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Hernando, when he was caught downloading child porn at the public library.
The state sex offender registry states he was convicted of child exploitation in 2013.
None of the five convicted offenders in Arkansas are from the Mid-South.
The president of the Southern Baptist Convention tweeted that he was broken over what was revealed, calling the abuses "Pure evil."
He continued by saying, "I will pursue every possible avenue to stop predators in their midst."