Florida Baptist Convention plans to appeal $12.5 million fine
    January 21 2014 by Michael McEwen, BR Content Editor

    A Lake County, Fla. jury has awarded $12.5 million to a 21-year-old man in sexual assault case. The jury said the Florida Baptist Convention would have to pay these damages.
    Douglas Myers, 64, founded two Baptist churches in Lake County in the mid-2000s: Harbor Baptist Fellowship in Howey-in-the-Hills and Triangle Community Church in Eustis.

    Douglas Myers

    Myers met the unnamed teenager at Bay Street Baptist Church in Lake County and abused him over the course of six months. He also took the young man on trips to Walt Disney World, gave him money and drove him to school.
    Myers served a seven-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to lewd and lascivious molestation. He was released from prison December 2012, but faced three counts of custodial child abuse charges in Maryland where he served as pastor at Dunkirk Baptist Church in Dunkirk, Md. Myers was sentenced in October 2013 to 45 years in prison with 30 years suspended.
    There are other allegations from another pastorate at Concord Baptist Church in Russellville, Ala.
    In May 2012 a Lake County, Fla. jury held the Florida Baptist Convention liable in the Myers case. Testimony in the liability portion of Myers' Florida trial showed that the convention ran criminal-background, motor-vehicle and credit checks on Myers but failed to check his references or contact the churches where he previously worked.
    After a recent six-day trial, a different Lake County jury unanimously agreed last week to award the 21-year-old man $12.5 million for damages.
    Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention spokeswoman, said Myers wasn't an "employee" of the convention. He served as a "church planter" who assisted in starting churches and received a stipend from the church.
    "What we do is we provide money to the church, and our churches hire whoever they want," she said.
    Florida Baptist Convention attorney, Gary Yeldell, said the convention will appeal the jury's decision.
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Michael McEwen is the Biblical Recorder’s Content Editor.)
    1/21/2014 2:47:38 PM by Michael McEwen, BR Content Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Douglas Myers, Florida Baptist Convention

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