Former deacon at Abilene church indicted for continuous sexual abuse of a child
ABILENE, Texas —
A former deacon at an Abilene church was indicted by a Taylor County grand jury on Thursday for continuous sexual abuse of a child.
According to the indictment, Steven Henry Taylor, 50, sexually assaulted a child under the age of 14 on multiple occasions between January 2008 and May 2013.
According to documents, the Grand Forks Police Department in North Dakota notified the Abilene Police Department of an investigation into sexual assault allegations against Taylor, who was formerly a deacon at New Hope Church in Abilene.
A former member of New Hope Church, who attended the church with his family while living in Abilene as a teenager, claimed that he was sexually abused by Taylor from the time that he was 12 until he was 18.
According to the victim, Taylor started off by showing him sexually explicit images and a short time later, Taylor began to sexually abuse him.
The victim also said that he would spend the night at Taylor's residence, where he was subjected to further sexual abuse by Taylor.
Furthermore, the victim stated that Taylor would sexually assault him anywhere from one to three times per week on a weekly basis over a period of roughly four years.
While serving as a deacon at New Hope Church, Taylor conducted many of the men's retreats and youth activities held by the church.
Investigators also believe that many more children may have been sexually abused by Taylor.
New Hope Church, where Taylor formerly served as a deacon, released the following statement on Taylor's indictment, which can be read in full below:
It has recently come to our attention that Steve Taylor, a former member of New Hope Church between 2002-2009 was arrested and convicted in North Dakota on charges of indecency with a child. In that investigation it was uncovered that other children were victimized, some from Abilene. We are currently cooperating with APD in their investigation.
To do all we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our children on a daily basis, all employees, leaders, youth and children’s ministry volunteers must go through a criminal background check. This was done and returned to us clear. We also maintain a strict policy in all areas of youth and children’s ministry, including our Mother’s Day Out program, that no adult may be alone with a student or child at any time. We work to strictly enforce this policy at all times.
We are deeply saddened by these events, and our prayers are with all who may have been involved.