Former Texas pastor who supported bill to criminalize abortion charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child
Stephen Bratton was charged on Friday after being accused of inappropriate touching that would go on to become 'sexual intercourse multiple times a day or several times a week'.
A former pastor and anti-abortion supporter has been arrested and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child in Texas. Stephen Bratton, who was associated with the Grace Family Baptist Church in Cypress Station resigned from his duties last month. He was charged on Friday after being accused of inappropriate touching that would go on to become "sexual intercourse multiple times a day or several times a week". Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland said Saturday that the 43-year-old was involved in the incidents from 2013 to 2015, Houston Chronicle reported.
An outspoken pro-life advocate, he had testified in support of the failed Texas House Bill 896, authored by Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, which criminalized abortions and made them an offense punishable with a death penalty. He had said at the hearing, "Whoever authorizes or commits murder is guilty,” he continued, “They’re guilty already in a court that is far more weighty than what is here in Texas." He had also penned an open letter to church leader Jack Graham after he slammed the bill. "I am both saddened and angry,” wrote Bratton, "You have used the power of the pulpit and your influence as one who is supposed to speak for the Lord to effectively endorse the murder of another 55,000 children in Texas in the next year and 110,000 over the coming two years before our legislature meets again."
According to the Chronicle, the pastor had come clean about the sexual abuse to his wife on May 15. She reportedly called his co-pastors at 4 a.m. to organize a meeting and her husband got in touch with them to inform them that he had "sinned in grievous ways." The investigation began the very next day, May 16, after he confessed to them that he had abused the child.
"It was criminal,” said David Shiflet, pastor of the Grace Family Baptist Church in Conroe. “That’s when he came clean.” His co-pastors, Aaron Wright and Erin Frye contacted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office at their church soon after, following which the Department of Family Protective Services was informed. The church leaders said that there are no other known victims. He has also been excommunicated.
"This person’s life is in such a contradiction to the faith that we see no evidence that they are a Christian," Shiflet said. It is also reported that he no longer lives with his wife and seven children. He posted $50,000 bond and has been released from the Harris County Jail.