"Seattle--Chinese Southern Baptist Cross" by Joe Mabel / CC BY-SA 3.0

Church elders let confessed abuser attend services; now judge has banned him

Mar 5, 2019

By Bobby Ross Jr.

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (RNS) — After a longtime youth minister’s recent conviction on corruption of minors and indecent exposure charges, a judge in this western Pennsylvania community did what the Uniontown Church of Christ’s elders refused to do.

The judge told Clyde E. Brothers Jr. to stay away from church services.

Brothers, 70, served for many years as the volunteer youth minister for the 100-member Uniontown congregation. Since at least the 1980s, he also interacted with hundreds of children as a founding board member for Camp Concern — a Bible camp directed and sponsored by members of Churches of Christ. Generations of parents entrusted Brothers with instilling Christian faith and values in their children in this city of 10,000.

Victims’ relatives say his case points to a problem that plagues not just the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention — both embroiled in major sex abuse scandals — but also the nation’s 12,000 autonomous Churches of Christ.

“It truly is an epidemic, such sickness,” said one victim’s mother, a former Uniontown church member whose name is being withheld to protect her son’s identity.

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