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Secret list of church sex abusers includes 6 from Cobb


A secret list of names of those involved in Church sex abuse is a secret no more as the names of hundreds of ministers and church employees were recently revealed including the names of at least six people from Cobb County who worked at Baptist churches in the county. The names are on a secret list that was obtained by the Southern Baptist Convention and was released by the convention last week in the aftermath of a third-party review finding the church had covered up systemic abuse for years. 

The list had been compiled internally by a staffer of the convention’s executive committee and included a disclaimer that it was incomplete and inadequately researched. Many of the names are either redacted or include unidentified individuals from Georgia. The Cobb men were previously known and convicted of their crimes that occurred between 1980 and 2016. 

Rev. Thomas McGowan was convicted in 1989 of molesting three former congregation members, two of them underage, while he was pastor of New Grace Baptist Church in Powder Springs. McGowan received a three-year sentence and 20 years on probation.

James Calvin McCurry repeatedly molested a teenage girl who attended Bible school at Smyrna’s Greater Zion Hills Baptist Church and received 20 years.

A youth minister who worked at Western Hills Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Kevin DeRosa, was sentenced in 1995 to 20 years on sex abuse charges after he plead guilty to molesting six boys between 1992 and 1993.

Three men were also convicted of sex crimes while working at Eastside Baptist Church in East Cobb. They include Gunter Fiek, a Sunday school teacher and sports instructor. He was found guilty of nearly two dozen child molestation charges, which was described as the largest list of molestation offenses in Cobb’s history. Fiek received a 90-year prison sentence.

Volunteer youth minister, Alexander Edwards, was convicted of molesting an 11-year-old Marietta boy in 2016. He was sentenced to three years. Former janitor John Samuel Stafford pled guilty to a misdemeanor sexual battery charge and spent a month in jail.

In a statement last week, the Southern Baptist Convention said the list’s release was an “important, step towards addressing the scourge of sexual abuse and implementing reform in the Convention. “Each entry in this list reminds us of the devastation and destruction brought about by sexual abuse. Our prayer is that the survivors of these heinous acts find hope and healing, and that churches will utilize this list proactively to protect and care for the most vulnerable among us.”


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