Heritage Baptist Church pastor Scott Hanks said he is upset that his church has been pulled into media reports about a criminal case involving sexual abuse allegations against two church members.
“How does it have anything to do with the church?” Hanks said Friday at Heritage Baptist, 1781 East 800 Road.
Hanks is listed as a witness in the case against a Lawrence couple accused of sexually abusing two girls over a two-year period.
In a statement released to the media Thursday, Hanks said: “The Heritage Baptist Church is ashamed and appalled at the actions of (the suspect). The church stands against rape, sodomy and indecent liberties with a child. Such wicked and vile acts should be punished and not tolerated in or outside any church.”
Hanks said he released the statement after he was approached by several area media organizations seeking comment.
Hanks declined to give an on-camera interview, but provided several details about his involvement in the case.
The pastor said that as soon as he heard about the abuse allegations, he confronted the 32-year-old man, who was charged Thursday in Douglas County District Court with eight crimes, including rape and sodomy. Hanks then convinced the man to turn himself in, he said.
“I’m the one who took him to the police station,” Hanks said.
Hanks did not specify how he learned of the allegations, but said he was convinced no children from his church had been abused and did not say whether the alleged victims were members.
“We’ve conducted our own investigation,” Hanks said. “There were never children from the church at their house. Ever.”
Hanks said that neither of the accused was employed by the church.
Heritage Baptist is not mentioned in any public court documents on the case.